The role of women human rights defenders in Colombia is fundamental. The conditions of socioeconomic inequality, gender-based inequalities and discrimination, and the armed conflict have been complex scenarios in which women’s leadership in the defence of human rights and peace have played a leading role. The creation of diverse collective processes and social networks at the local and national levels have been crucial strategies in the work of women defenders, their advocacy, and their forms of resistance. Their impact is undeniable. However, the work of women human rights defenders in Colombia has not been easy and has been frequently threatened. Hundreds of women human rights defenders have left the country as exiles over the past three decades or have been forcibly displaced within the country to protect their lives, many have suffered direct attacks, and some of them have been killed. The forms and impacts of violence against them have differential characteristics with respect to other defenders, which reveal the presence of gender stereotypes. In addition, indigenous, peasant, and lesbian, bisexual and trans women (LBT women) defenders face aggravated risks. Paradoxically, their visibility in the defence of peace has had very high costs for them after the signing of the Peace Accord between government and FARC-EP guerrillas in 2016. Women here are at a differential risk not only because they support the Peace Accord implementation in contexts where there are sectors that oppose it, but because they have gone beyond the low-key behaviour that is still expected for women in the political arena in many places of Colombia. Despite all this, they continue to lead the defence of human rights and their political advocacy has led to the creation of specific protection programmes for them by the Colombian state, the implementation of which is currently a challenge.
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.