Resilience in Colombia during Covid

Issues Affecting Women

5 August 2020

Photo by Jorge Gardner on Unsplash

When Covid-19 struck in March of this year, Women’s Link Worldwide was getting ready to go before Colombia’s Truth Commission, the body set up in Colombia to shed light on what happened during the country’s decades-long armed conflict.

WLW is an international not-for-profit organisation that uses the power of the law to promote social change that advances the human rights of women and girls, especially those facing multiple inequalities. The team had spent months doing careful field work with local partners to document the experiences of Afro-descendant women and girls in the Northern Cauca region during the conflict. They were preparing to present the finished report in person to the Commission, but the lockdown put a stop to their plans.

Since its partners could not come to Bogota to meet the commissioners, a virtual hearing was organised instead. This meant finding areas in the Northern Cauca where WLW’s partners had better internet connectivity and the necessary equipment to be able to testify, while also complying with social distancing regulations. So, despite all the obstacles posed by the pandemic, Afro-descendant women were able to tell their stories before the Truth Commission on Afro-Colombian Day. They shared about the violence they suffered during the armed conflict, the rights that were stolen from them, and how they fought to get them back. They spoke on their own terms, and their passion, resilience and strength transcended the screens.

This work is part of WLW’s ongoing efforts to ensure that what happened to women and girls during the conflict in Colombia is included in the transitional justice process. To learn more about the report that WLW brought to the Truth Commission, click here (available in Spanish only).

WLW is a partner of Oak’s Issues Affecting Women Programme (IAWP), which supports organisations that enable women who have experienced violence to access their rights and rebuild their lives. Oak’s partners provide a range of services that empower women to recover from the trauma of violence. They seek to reform laws and policies and change norms to prevent violence from taking place. Find out more on our website.

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