Note : The present document is being circulated in English, French and Spanish only.
* The present document is being issued without formal editing.
Ninth periodic report of Colombia under article 18 of the Convention, due in 2017 *
[Date received: 10 November 2017]
1.The realization of human rights requires a meaningful contribution by women and girls and their full and effective participation in all aspects of life on an equal footing with men and boys, and it is essential to eliminate any type of discrimination to ensure effective access at the legislative and institutional levels.
2.To reduce inequalities between men and women and to transform the discourse and cultural norms that have perpetuated structural discrimination and all kinds of gender-based taboos and stereotypes, the roles and responsibilities of women and men, both within the family and in society, urgently need to change.
3.The Government is carrying out a process of awareness-raising and seeking to have national and territorial authorities assimilate the content of the Convention, creating spaces for dialogue with a view to institutional capacity-building and the provision of the appropriate tools so that actions may be taken to effectively guarantee women’s rights in Colombia. In that effort the support of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) has been invaluable, as has that of Ms. Line Bareiro, a gender expert and former member of the Committee, and the work of civil society and, especially, those women’s organizations driving the development and monitoring of the women’s rights agenda.
4.Colombia today, following the signing of the peace agreement, is a different country. It is undergoing policy and institutional changes aimed at achieving greater efficiency and coherence in the organization and operation of the State, areas where women are indispensable actors in the construction of harmonious environments that enhance the country’s development. Given this unique opportunity, and the conviction that the society we want can be built by decreasing the social and economic disparities between the countryside and the cities, the Government recognizes the importance of the Committee’s recommendations as instruments to catalyse the implementation of comprehensive, differentiated, progressive actions tailored to the real situation of our women and girls. That will involve great challenges, but the Government is determined to take them up and overcome them, thus laying the foundations for a stable and lasting peace.
5.Accordingly, and given the current situation, the national report (hereinafter the report), although it records significant progress in the areas of equality and non‑discrimination, does include a large number of actions still under implementation whose results will be seen in the medium and long term.
6.The report is in four parts, the first of which addresses the content of articles 1 to 6; the second, articles 7 to 9; the third, articles 10 to 14; and the fourth, article 16. Similarly, information is being provided in accordance with the recommendations made to the Colombian Government in 2013, and a special chapter is included on women’s participation in the peace process. The information reported covers the 2012–2016 period.
7.Finally, it is gratifying to note that the report preparation process, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity (CPEM) and the Presidential Council for Human Rights (CPDDHH) and the involvement of national institutions having responsibility for the content of the Convention, was initiated in 2016 through an exchange of best practices, with the participation of representatives of Mexico and Paraguay with extensive experience in gender issues. There were 29 technical meetings, beginning on 24 February and culminating on 15 May 2017, attended by a total of 137 officials, 112 of whom were women and 25 men.
8.The Colombian constitutional and policy framework is in compliance with the definition of discrimination against women contained in article 1 of the Convention and is bolstered by important developments in jurisprudence and gender-responsive judicial decisions that identify and appreciate women’s role as a social function; when that function suffers harm, there is a need, in making full reparation, to recognize the intangible damages dimension, with the goal of hastening and promoting women’s equality and the protection of their dignity.
9.Important legislative measures have been enacted to enhance access to justice and priority attention to the needs of women and girls. Those measures recognized women’s work and resilience, asserting their dignity and rejecting any form of discrimination and violence that might affect their integrity:
•Act No. 1639/2013, strengthening measures to protect victims of acid crimes.
•Decree 1480/2014, instituting the National Day for the Dignity of Women Victims of Sexual Violence in the Internal Armed Conflict (25 May).
•Act No. 1719/2014, establishing measures to guarantee access to justice for victims of sexual violence, especially in the context of the armed conflict.
•Act No. 1761/2015, establishing femicide as a separate offence.
•Act No. 1773/2016, providing for comprehensive care for victims of chemical agents and adding an article to Act No. 599/2000.
10.As a follow-up to the 2010–2014 Government Plan, the 2014–2018 National Development Plan, in its chapter VIII on Security, Justice and Democracy for Peacebuilding, provides for comprehensive promotion of women’s rights and gender equality with an intersectional perspective, through the Strategy to Strengthen Public Policy on Gender Equity (CONPES 161) and the Strategy to Protect and Guarantee the Rights of Women Victims of the Armed Conflict (CONPES 3784).
11.Assessment of CONPES 161 and 3784 is now under way. This will provide a mechanism for the participation of women’s organizations and organizations of women victims recognized by the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity on the basis of principles of citizen participation and in line with a methodological strategy, so that women and their organizations may contribute ideas and proposals for the development of new editions of the aforementioned documents. Thirteen regional workshops and a national workshop have been held, with the participation of 221 women from various organizations. Territorial experiences were documented and reports presented from six workshops led by women victims of the armed conflict in five capital cities, bringing together 168 women from different regions.
12.Pursuant to recommendation 12(a), the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity was ratified as such by Decree No. 672/2017, retaining the functional competencies it had had since 2010. As the national mechanism for advancing women’s rights, the Council has the technical capacities and mission skills to influence decision-making for gender mainstreaming in different sectors of the public administration and to provide these, and local governments, with programmes addressing the particular concerns of women in the territories, through the establishment of inter-institutional agreements respecting the principles of subsidiarity, concurrence and complementarity.
13.In order to articulate institutional practice and promote effective monitoring mechanisms, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity has during the reporting period taken part in 18 forums, most of which have representatives from women’s organizations and follow up and coordinate actions to implement the regulatory framework. To better implement CONPES 161, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity provides technical support for the creation and consolidation of gender groups and the formulation of action plans at 13 constituent entities of the Intersectoral Commission. With respect to the Commission, with a view to promoting its work (Recommendation 12(b)), the Council, in partnership with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), performed an analysis in 2016, which produced the following results:
•The entities carry out formal delegation, ensuring that representation on the Commission is headed by the same person, facilitating continuity in the issues discussed, and that it is the appropriate forum to bring together professionals with responsibility for implementing the gender approach in the entities.
•Their ongoing effort to fulfil the commitments set out in CONPES 161 and translate them into periodic reports is hereby acknowledged.
•The participation of civil society in the meetings of the Commission strengthens dialogue and the institutional response.
•The strategic partnership between the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity and the National Planning Department (DNP) allows for careful follow-up of the indicators.
Violence against women
14.Since 2012, pursuant to Recommendation 16(b), the Ministry of Health (MSPS) has been making great efforts to regulate the care measures set out in article 19 of Act No. 1257. In 2015 and 2016 in particular, it worked to adopt housing, food and transportation service delivery models for women victims of violence and their children, within the framework of care measures whose implementation, by the territorial entities but not by agents of the General Health and Social Security System (SGSSS), is subject to regulation. The models are found in the cities of Cali (one house) and Bogotá (five houses for victims of domestic violence and one for victims of violence in the armed conflict). In addition, there are 13 women’s shelters, which are in the process of adapting to the model.
15.The committee responsible for monitoring the implementation of Act No. 1257, whose membership is drawn from the Office of the Attorney General, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity and representatives of women’s organizations, has been in operation since 2011. Beginning in 2013 the Committee was decentralized to the departmental and municipal level as part of a strategy to raise its regional profile. The periodic monitoring reports on the implementation of Act No. 1257 submitted to the Congress of the Republic clearly show how the Government has responded to all aspects of this matter and ensured the necessary liaisons (Recommendation 16(c)).
16.In response to the provisions of Act No. 1257, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity provided technical assistance to 32 governorates and 32 mayors of capital cities for the inclusion of concrete actions in territorial development plans and the achievement of conditions of real equality, based on the promotion of five thematic areas. About 1,100 officials responsible for developing and implementing territorial public policies attended awareness and training sessions.
17.The judiciary is implementing guidelines for the care and protection of women victims of sexual violence as well as a guide for the implementation of the gender-sensitive approach in the field of land restitution and before the Justice and Peace courts. High court judges collectively have laid down equity criteria for the administration of justice with a gender-sensitive approach. The Supreme Court has introduced the assessment of human rights and international humanitarian law standards in judgments as a performance evaluation criterion for judicial officers (Agreement No. 10618/2016) and ruled that the gender variable must be taken into consideration in order to produce positive decisions on costs for women victims of violence (Agreement 10554/2016).
18.In its 2016–2020 strategic plan, the Attorney General’s Office established the fight against violence, and particularly intentional homicide and sexual and domestic violence, as a priority in investigation and prosecution. Actions designed to achieve that goal include a differential gender-sensitive approach recognizing the impact of violence on women and girls, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) population. Among the goals set by the Attorney General’s Office for 2020 in the area of gender-based violence are: to double the charge and conviction rates for intentional homicide and sexual violence; to reduce the incidence of homicide cases where the victim had made a timely report of domestic violence; and to double the charge rate for domestic violence (Recommendation 16(d)).
19.In 2016, the Attorney General’s Office issued the Sexual Violence Investigation and Prosecution Protocol (Resolution 1774), which helps to ensure greater victim participation in the entire prosecution process and provides officials with tools to perform their duties using due diligence standards, to overcome barriers to the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. A differential approach based on ethnicity and human rights is incorporated into protection programmes for women, while investigative and judicial practice implements legislative progress and the principles and rules of international human rights law and international criminal law (Resolution 1006/2016).
20.The Attorney General’s Office is implementing a strategy to prioritize domestic violence and a work plan to improve its approach thereto. The strategy includes mechanisms to ensure that victim care and protection is more comprehensive and respectful of their rights, with a view to expediting the investigation and prosecution of occurrences and avoiding further aggression and any escalation of violence or revictimization. Such was the context of the issuance of Directive 001/2017, which provides general guidelines for the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence.
21.To implement Act No. 1719/2014 and Act No. 1761/2015, the Attorney General’s Office is bringing to bear strategies relating to: outreach, dissemination and follow-up on the ground; training in judicial investigation techniques with a differentiated perspective; building of specialized support and technical assistance teams at sectional directorates for cases of sexual violence, whether in the context of the armed conflict or otherwise, and femicide; and investigation employing differentiated methods.
22.With regard to the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence occurring in the course of scenarios of ordinary violence as defined by the indicators included in the 2010–2016 Strategic Plan of the Attorney General’s Office, the following information is germane:
•Sexual offences are among the ten most common types of offences recorded by the Attorney General’s Office.
•Over the past five years, the charge rate for sexual offences reported has been between 17 and 18 per cent. That rate increased to 20 and 21 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
•Convictions on such charges increased by 46 per cent in 2016.
23.In line with Recommendation 16(d), the coverage of the National Houses of Justice and Citizen Coexistence Programme has been broadened, as there are now 108 Houses and 37 Centres, in 28 and 18 departments, respectively. In 2016, a public perception survey conducted by the National Planning Department showed that:
“… 26 per cent of Colombians know what a house of justice or citizen coexistence centre is, and of these, 31 per cent had approached one of these bodies to resolve a conflict.”
24.In 2015, to strengthen the Programme’s strategic orientations, and especially its information system, a formal record began to be kept of the activities carried out at the Houses and Centres. It was essential, therefore, to carry out activities with a gender perspective, with the goal of empowering women in the exercise of their rights, strengthening access to justice through the provision of services in terms of violence prevention and care options, quality of life for pregnant mothers, peacebuilding, and awareness building on gender-based violence, femicide, sexual violence and acid attacks.
25.In order to provide a comprehensive response to gender-based violence in the family in terms of prevention and care, technical guidelines were established regarding competencies and actions related to the care functions provided by family police services and other competent administrative authorities to victims of gender-based violence (Resolution 163/2013). An educational booklet/guide was produced to standardize the procedures of police services and national and regional authorities and to address domestic violence through a gender-sensitive approach, in line with the relevant regulatory framework. More than 2,251 officials have received training in those areas since 2013.
26.A number of other tools are being implemented to strengthen the management of police services and other authorities involved in handling cases related to gender-based violence, for example:
•An instrument to assess the risk to life and personal integrity of gender-based violence within the family.
•A tracking tool for protective measures imposed by family police services in cases of gender-based violence.
•A tracking tool for protective measures imposed by family police services in cases of gender-based violence.
•Options in terms of police services’ care procedures for victims of gender-based violence within the family.
27.Pursuant to recommendation 16(e), the Government is building the Integrated Information System on Gender-based Violence (SIVIGE), whose purpose is to generate and coordinate official statistics to measure and characterize victims, types of violence and the relevant contexts. The System is an important step forward in that it standardizes concepts and variables for the analysis of gender-based violence, including sex, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), ethnic group, area of occurrence, characterization of the perpetrator and the latter’s relation to the victim.
28.The System will use various information sources to analyse cases of gender-based violence and identify the needed health care, clinical diagnoses, victim protection and victimization factors. In 2016, the System’s constituent entities produced a technical document on its regulatory, conceptual and operational framework.
29.As of September 2017, the 155 counselling hotline for women victims of violence, which was mentioned in the 2015 report containing information provided in follow-up to the concluding observations, had fielded 1,003,563 calls since 2013. The women making the greatest use of it are between 25 and 35 years of age; December is the busiest month for calls; the peak number of calls is recorded Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 and 3 pm; and the departments the most calls originate from are Cundinamarca (including Bogotá), Valle and Antioquia.
30.In 2016, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute set up a free national hotline (141) for emergency reporting and to provide support and guidance in situations of violence against children and adolescents. It also launched the campaign entitled The Importance of the First 72 Hours, which brings together family advocates’ offices and care and services teams, to smooth the path of comprehensive support for child and adolescent victims of sexual violence.
31.With the support of the International Organization for Migration, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity has devised the Rights Dissemination Toolkit, which contains educational tools to facilitate the identification of women’s human rights and the legal framework that guarantees them. The Toolkit is very useful in fieldwork with women’s organizations, gender mechanisms and public servants.
32.It embodies the Specialized Training Strategy on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law for Judicial Officials and Public Servants, for which the Presidential Council for Human Rights has lead responsibility and which has since 2014 included a module structured around basic principles and rules and regulations on gender-based violence in the context of the armed conflict and sexual violence. Between 2014 and 2016, 402 officials were trained in eight cities.
33.The Supreme Court conducts legal clinics to identify gender stereotypes and prejudices and enable judges to perform a more robust assessment of facts at the investigation and trial stages. In the past five years, 5,579 officials from all judicial districts of the country have taken part in that exercise.
34.The SUIN-JURISCOL portal, launched in 2015, provides free legal information to citizens, to help raise awareness of the special measures aimed at accelerating equality and of changing sociocultural patterns regarding the roles of women and men. To date the website has recorded 3,900,896 visits.
35.The freely consultable LegalApp was implemented, a technological tool providing plain-language information on formalities, procedures, and care and guidance options, conflict resolution and the prosecution of ordinary offences. It lists more than 20,000 authorities and entities related to the justice sector, letting users know where to find them in the municipality they are interested in. The tool provides an advanced search function in the area of violence and discrimination as well as a button labelled Applicable Law that links to the regulatory framework and case law on specific issues, including violence against women.
36.With the 2016 introduction of LegalApp, the Justice Studies Centre of the Americas (JSCA) now puts Colombia firmly in the lead on its Index of Online Judicial Services, ranking Colombia’s websites first among the 130 operated by the 32 countries of the Organization of American States.
37.The judiciary has an updated tool whereby the main decisions handed down by the nation’s high judicial bodies may be consulted and the progress made on gender issues disseminated. The tool provides information on national and international regulations on gender issues and collates the major publications, gender statistics, and the content of Judicial Branch courses, workshops and videoconferences.
Conflict-related gender violence
38.Pursuant to Recommendations 18(b) and (c), in 2014 the Attorney General’s Office has set up a special group to address gender-based violence, including sexual violence perpetrated by various armed actors in various parts of the country. Its first task was to analyse the accounts in the reserved annex of Order 092/2008, define strategic measures and push for cases to be investigated, and determine the patterns in the perpetration of punishable offences and victimization.
39.In 2015, the Attorney General’s Office implemented a prioritization model for the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence, in order to document and promote the investigation of cases, giving priority to coordination between prosecutors and investigators. In 2016, a support group was formed to analyse cases of sexual violence allegedly committed by members of the security forces and bring them to trial.
40.The National Committee for the Prioritization of Situations and Cases of the Attorney General’s Office, in compliance with point 12 of Order 009/2015, adopted the Prioritization Strategy for the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence, aimed at coordinating the various paths and mechanisms designed to deal with this type of violence (Resolution 003/2015). The Strategy consists of actions that meet the obligation to conduct investigations within a reasonable time frame and at the instigation of judicial officials, to provide protective spaces for the monitoring and coordination of investigation and prosecution, and to convene the legal/technical committees established under Act No. 1719/2014 and take other actions to move cases along.
41.By 2016, in accordance with Act No. 1719 and the Constitutional Court’s rulings on the Inter-agency Strategy to Combat Impunity and Provide Comprehensive Care for Victims of Gender-based Violence in the Context of the Armed Conflict, mentioned in the eighth and ninth national reports, training with a gender perspective was being developed in the area of access to justice and protection, while the protection programmes of both the Attorney General’s Office and the National Protection Unit were disseminated and, chiefly in the municipalities of Mocoa, Cúcuta, Codazzi, Arauca and the area of María la Baja, self-protection workshops were held.
42.Given that 51 per cent of all victims of the conflict are women, a differentiated approach to care is being taken, with a gender perspective, and the Individual Reparation Strategy for Women Victims of Sexual Violence in the Context of the Armed Conflict has been established, to create spaces for construction, dialogue and the strengthening of women’s life projects, with a focus on rights, within the framework of the process of full reparation for women. Based on the current information of the Comprehensive Victim Assistance and Reparation Unit:
•Compensation amounting to some US$ 830 million has been paid to 370,562 women victims of the conflict;
•There have been 6,988 cases of administrative compensation for women victims of offences against sexual freedom and integrity; and
•Countrywide, 1,669 women have benefited from the Strategy of Full Redress for Women, providing for differential, comprehensive and appropriate care for women victims of such offences, which is implemented in 35 cities.
43.Having regard to Recommendation 18(h), the Protocol for the Prevention of Gender-based Violence had a second version, published in 2015 and titled Security Forces Protocol on Sexual Violence Prevention and Response, Particularly in Relation to the Armed Conflict, with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and contributions by the Presidential Council for Human Rights and the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity. It formalizes the path to be taken in cases of sexual violence related to the armed conflict as well as the obligation to bring alleged sexual violence cases to the attention of the ordinary courts.
44.Act No. 1407/2010, under which the Military Penal Code is issued, was declared enforceable by the Constitutional Court in its judgment C-252/2012. Attention is drawn to articles 1, 2 and 3 of the above-mentioned Act, which establishes the competence of military criminal justice to conduct investigations of matters under its jurisdiction; violence against women, however, is not such a matter, since it can never be related to military service, which cannot be the occasion thereof.
45.The legal framework for peace is an effective resource that enables the State to facilitate the achievement of peace and contribute to the effective fulfilment of the rights of victims, including women, by creating spaces for the development of a comprehensive and coherent transitional justice strategy that effectively satisfies the rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, insofar as it: (i) establishes peace as the overarching purpose of transitional justice instruments; (ii) constitutionally recognizes victims’ right to truth, justice, reparation and non‑recurrence; (iii) authorizes the establishment of complementary extrajudicial mechanisms for investigation, the establishment of the truth, and victim reparation; and (iv) incorporates prioritization and selection as mechanisms to focus criminal prosecution on those most responsible for international crimes (Recommendation 18(i)).
46.Issues of sexual violence were raised during the peace process (Recommendation 18(j)) and are addressed in point 5 of the Agreement relating to victims of the conflict, which stipulates that no amnesty shall apply to sexual violence in armed conflict. One feature of the approach to these issues has been the support provided by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
47.With respect to Recommendation 18(f), health sphere support for women victims of any form of violence shall include the right to receive comprehensive physical and mental health care, as established in Act No. 1438/2011 amending the General Health and Social Security System. Pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 1751/2015, the Ministry of Health has formalized the Comprehensive Health Care Policy, which includes a strategic component, setting the long-term priorities of the health sector, together with an operational component that defines the Comprehensive Health Care Model. One of the actions taken for the implementation of the Model is the Comprehensive Health Care Paths. Between 2013 and 2016, 4,420 health professionals were certified to serve sexual violence victims through the Territorial Health Directorates (DTS), commercial (EPS) and institutional health service providers (IPS). According to National Public Health Monitoring System information, between 2015 and 2016, 159,047 girls and women were reported to have suffered physical, sexual and psychological violence, of whom:
•100 per cent had a medical assessment;
•42.95 received mental health treatment;
•53.34 per cent were referred to the competent authority;
•33.57 per cent were referred to protective services;
•50% of sexual violence victims presented themselves between 72 and 120 hours after the event;
•52.23 per cent received STI/HIV preventive treatment, 36 per cent emergency contraception, and 51.45 per cent were referred for abortion orientation.
48.It is in that context that the Comprehensive Care Option for Persons at Risk or Victims of Assault, Accident or Trauma was designed, which comprehensively addresses conflict-related and gender-based violence as well as violence due to social conflict. For gender-based violence, an extensive regulatory framework governs the comprehensive care required by victims of sexual violence, chemical attacks and other forms of gender-based violence (annex 1).
49.Between 2014 and 2016, pursuant to Act No. 1448 of 2011, psychosocial care was provided to 314,921 victims, 197,496 of them women, under the Comprehensive Psychosocial and Health Care Programme for Victims. That care is provided by interdisciplinary teams with training and experience in psychosocial care.
50.In 2012, the Comprehensive Health Care Protocol and Model for Victims of Sexual Violence was adopted and became mandatory in the treatment of victims of sexual violence by institutional health service providers. The Ministry of Health contributed to the review of the constitutionality of article 23 of Act No. 1719, on the optional implementation of the Care Protocol and Model. In 2015, the Constitutional Court declared that optionality unconstitutional and reaffirmed the mandatory nature of its implementation.
51.Processes and actions based on a participatory approach are encouraged, with the assistance of the National Centre for Historical Memory (CNMH), to provide an understanding of what happened in the context of the armed conflict, and thus contribute to victims’ dignity and comprehensive reparation (Recommendation 18(g)). That historical clarification includes a consideration of the models of masculinity and femininity produced and reproduced during war, as well as the structural inequalities between the sexes, which give rise to specific registers of violence, differentiated damage and particular forms of resistance.
52.The effort of memory is based on the progress made by the historical memory group of the National Reparation and Reconciliation Commission; at the behest of victims’ groups or in response to collective reparation processes or judicial decisions, documents are prepared to clarify emblematic situations that can afford an understanding of the various dynamics of the war in Colombia. During the reporting period the following documents were produced: Annihilating the Difference: LGBTI Individuals in the Colombian Armed Conflict (2015); No Statute of Limitations for Crimes: Sexual Violence of the Vencedores de Arauca Bloc (2016); 2017 National Sexual Violence Report (in press).
53.In order to build an archive of human rights and historical memory, the National Centre for Historic Memory must collect documentation — oral or written testimony on human rights violations that occurred during the internal armed conflict. Efforts are under way to identify and compile archives in the field of women’s human rights. Progress achieved between 2015 and 2017 is as follows: 172 archives by women and women’s organizations identified and compiled; 385 records of memory initiatives, ten of which are by women and directly supported by the Centre.
54.In response to point 17 of Order 009/2015 and with the aim of preventing sexual violence, the Ministry of the Interior prepared and submitted to the Constitutional Court an analysis of the main factors associated with structural gender violence and discrimination giving rise to sexual violence against women in the context of the armed conflict and forced displacement in Colombia. In 2016 that analysis was disseminated, in seven cities, to the entities mandated to prevent, respond to, investigate and punish human rights violations, with the participation of social organizations.
55.The Ministry of the Interior drafted Instructions for the Prevention of Sexual Violence with a Gender-sensitive Focus for mayors. The Instructions include guidelines for the conduct of prevention activities produced by the Government Secretariat and the ministries of Education and Health as well as by such specialized bodies as: the Transitional Justice Committee, the Subcommittee on Prevention, Protection and Guarantees of Non-recurrence, and the Inter-institutional Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Violence and for Comprehensive Care for Child and Adolescent Victims of Sexual Abuse. The Ministry conducts prevention and protection workshops for women’s organizations and officials in such priority territorial entities as Mocoa, María la Baja, Cúcuta, Arauca, Quibdó, Florencia, Barrancabermeja, Buenaventura and Tumaco.
56.In 2017, in response to the need to articulate support strategies for women survivors of sexual violence in the context of the conflict, a Network for the Construction of a Guarantee of Women’s Rights was formed under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Council for Human Rights; it promotes organizational processes for women and stepped-up efforts by public officials in areas related to the protection of women’s human rights.
57.To make government policy better known and prevent gender-based violence, the Presidential Council for Human Rights had some sections of the existing rules and policies in favour of women translated into the Tukano, Shikuanai and Emperara Siapidara languages. To do so, a preparatory dialogue was required in priority areas with national indigenous organizations represented therein, as well as three regional councils, so that the information could then be disseminated to the communities.
58.The Government has set in motion the National Guarantee Process, which comprises the National Panel on Guarantees for Human Rights Defenders, social and community leaders, and the technical subgroups on protection and investigation, the Instruments of Recognition of Human Rights Defenders, and the communications strategy.
59.In 2016, it issued Decree No. 1314 establishing the Intersectoral Commission on Guarantees for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders (Recommendation 24(b)), whose main function is to ensure inter-institutional coordination for the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Programme of Guarantees for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders, itself produced through a dialogue initiative taken by the National Panel on Guarantees to perpetuate the work of social and political leaders and the defence of women’s human rights.
60.The discussions for the establishment of the Comprehensive Programme of Guarantees for Women followed a methodology previously agreed upon with women’s organizations within the Area of Dialogue for the formulation, implementation and follow-up of the policy for the prevention and protection of the rights of women defenders, involving the following participants: the Ministry of the Interior, the National Protection Unit, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, the Presidential Council for Human Rights, the Victim Assistance and Comprehensive Reparation Unit, the Ministry of Health, the Ombudsman’s Office, and organizations for the defence of women’s rights. In addition, victims’ groups have been formed in each municipality and department, as well as another at the national level, with fair representation, to ensure that victims will have their say on decisions that affect them.
61.In response to the ten gender risks identified by the Constitutional Court in its decision No. 092/2008, the Ministry of the Interior, with technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme, has designed a Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Comprehensive Prevention and Protection Plans (PIPP), with a view to rigorous prevention of violations of women’s rights to life, liberty, security of the person and physical integrity resulting from the internal armed conflict and the various dynamics of violence. With its flexible, informative content, the Guide becomes a tool for incorporating the gender perspective into the different methodological phases of the development or updating of the Comprehensive Plans.
62.Based on the case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of Colombia, the Attorney General’s Office has issued Directive 011/2016, which sets out the essential criterion for determining whether an individual should be considered a defender of human rights and explains what prosecutors need to analyse in that regard, focusing on the activities the individual undertakes. To that end, it has compiled a group of 27 cases of intentional homicide in lists issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ombudsman’s Office and social organizations. From January 2016 to September 2017, the Attorney General’s Office issued the following progress reports on these cases: 2 judgments, 7 at the trial stage, 6 under investigation, 1 under investigation with an existing arrest warrant, and 11 at the inquiry stage with judicial police orders.
63.As a result of gender mainstreaming within the National Protection Unit’s protection programme, 29 meetings were held by the Women’s Committee for Risk Assessment and Action Recommendations, analysing 495 cases, whose risk weighting they assessed as ordinary (for 47 of them), extraordinary (447), or extreme (1). In 448 cases, physical and complementary protection measures were adopted to mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities of the women protected.
64.The National Commission on Security Guarantees was established under Decree No. 154/2017, in the framework of the Final Agreement, and commenced operations in February 2017, giving effect to point 3.4 on security guarantees and combating criminal organizations and behaviours. In line with the above, the Special Investigation Unit was created within the Attorney General’s Office (Decree No. 898/2017) to put an end to the criminal behaviours and organizations responsible for killings and massacres targeting, inter alia, human rights defenders and social or political movements. The Unit will have 35 stations and more than 3,500 prosecutors countrywide, ensuring that someone will be available in the areas where the offences occurred.
65.In September 2017, in response to the duty of prevention incumbent on the Colombian State, Decree 1581 was issued, adopting the Public Policy for the Prevention of Violations of the Rights to Life, Integrity, Freedom and Security of Persons, Groups and Communities, which takes as a central input the pronouncements of the Constitutional Court.
66.Important legislative measures have been taken to enforce the content of this article, including the enactment of Act No. 1822/2017, extending maternity leave to eighteen weeks and paid paternity leave to eight working days, with incentives for proper early childhood care and attention. The aforementioned Act enshrines the prohibition of dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy or breastfeeding without the Ministry of Labour’s authorization and endorsement of just cause.
67.Act No. 1857/2017 has been adopted, stipulating that it is the duty of the State to provide families and their members with tools to strengthen their affective, economic, cultural and solidarity resources, as well as standards of democratic authority, so that care programmes for the family and its members may prioritize its unity and the mobilization of resources so that it may function as its members’ primary protection.
68.The Presidential Council for Human Rights, with the support of Corporación Humanas, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, and the Norwegian embassy, conducted the second Survey of Social and Institutional Tolerance of Violence against Women, which generated information of great value in understanding and targeting prevention, care and protection actions for women victims of all forms of violence. Among the findings are:
•8 out of 10 respondents believed that when men are angry it is better not to provoke them.
•51 per cent did not agree that men need more sex than women.
•64 per cent said that men are always ready to have sex, with persons over 65 most likely to agree with that statement (68 per cent), followed by persons between the ages of 18 and 30 (65 per cent).
•A woman’s most important role of women is to look after the home and cook for her family: 22 per cent of the population expressed full agreement with this, while 17 per cent agreed in part; 41 per cent of men agreed, and 37 per cent of women.
69.The transformation of such rooted beliefs, attitudes and practices is a challenge for the State, given the need to focus on building a citizenry that values difference and plurality, able to coexist peacefully and respect human rights. Under the leadership of the Ministry of National Education, important responses to that great challenge are implemented early, in schools, namely: (i) promotion of sexual and reproductive rights through educational projects; (ii) establishment of the National School Coexistence System; (iii) mainstreaming of the gender perspective and the prevention of violence against girls in curricular guidelines and teaching materials.
70.The Ministry of National Education pushed for the enactment of Act No. 1620/2013, the School Coexistence Act, which, together with Decree No. 4798/2011 providing regulations under Act No. 1257, strengthens the work of teachers, institutions and education secretariats, given the linkage of the educational community to prevention and the promotion, training, and protection of the rights of children, adolescents and young people.
71.The Guide to School Coexistence was developed and disseminated to the country’s educational establishments. It contains recommendations to ensure that sexist and discriminatory behaviour is avoided in educational practice and that actions are undertaken that will favour the promotion of human rights and the prevention of any kind of violence and bullying in schools. The dissemination of the document on Basic Learning Rights gave teachers a tool to enhance their classroom practice and curriculum design, lending focus to the exercise of family co-responsibility, since the document provides a reference on what children are expected to learn at each grade level.
72.The Ministry of National Education has conducted a review and adjustment of the nationally distributed educational materials in language and mathematics for K-11, incorporating pedagogical references on gender perspective through the promotion of inclusive language, and making women’s contribution to mathematics and literature visible.
73.One of the tools used to follow up the transformation of stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes is the standardized SABER tests, which include an assessment of citizenship skills. In examining the results in terms of attitudes toward gender roles, from 2012 to 2015, we see that:
•In 2012, 90 per cent of girls and 86 per cent of boys in fifth grade expressed disagreement with stereotypical gender roles. In 2015, that percentage increased to 93 and 90 per cent respectively.
•There was a decrease of 11.9 percentage points, from 32.5 to 20.6 per cent, in the number of ninth-grade girls who reported having been victims of any form of violence or intimidation in school.
74.While these findings do suggest progress in the transformation of patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes, there is a need to strengthen learning processes that involve older students, so as to keep on removing barriers in compliance with the provisions of the Convention.
75.Measures are being taken in the health sector to overhaul social norms that validate and justify violence, with the following results:
•13,358 direct participants in projects under way at six regional entities to promote coexistence and prevent violence, especially domestic violence.
•Eight violence prevention laboratories carried out in priority municipalities, as a cultural change strategy targeting the beliefs that make violence seem natural.
•61 social mobilizations with participatory methodologies carried out for the prevention of gender-based violence in 23 departments. The Methodology for Communication and Social Mobilization to Prevent Gender-based Violence is being finalized. It includes conceptual and technical guidance for direct action by public officials and leaders of social organizations.
•736 female leaders and 149 male leaders of 449 community-based organizations, citizen oversight committees and health care users’ associations from 16 departments have been trained in sexual and reproductive rights and the imperative of a violence-free life.
•In 2016, the communications strategy “In Sexual Violence, Health is the First Consideration” was released in cooperation with the Territorial Health Directorates. The emphasis was on comprehensive care, to restore the rights of victims of gender-based violence, especially sexual violence and chemical attacks.
76.Progress is being made in the development of the Public Educational Policy Based on the Indigenous Educational System (SEIP), under which measures are proposed to foster understanding of educational support for ethnic groups. This will constitute a cross-cutting strategic project ranging from “ethno-education” to the cooperative and participatory development of a policy with a differential approach that will strengthen cultures and allow the balanced use of communities’ languages in their own educational processes. (Recommendation 14(b).) At present, a process of intercultural dialogue is ongoing with traditional authorities and indigenous peoples’ organizations, through their duly appointed forums, and is enhancing the process of devising an Indigenous Educational System that will be open to the effective participation of women and girls and to self-management by indigenous peoples of the gender-sensitive approach, in keeping with their world view, even while paradigms embodying stereotypes are disrupted.
77.This effort represents more than seven years of sustained work by the National Commission on Labour and Educational Cooperation for Indigenous Peoples (CONTCEPI), whose 26 meetings culminated in an agreed road map for prior consultations in this area. In 2015, at the behest of the Standing Committee for Consultation, the road map was developed into a protocol. This involved the preparation of methodological guides and tools for consultation, the holding of 114 regional workshops, the collation of the inputs received and the drafting of the regulatory policy for the components of the Indigenous Educational System; the process is still ongoing.
78.In Colombia, female genital mutilation is a form of violence that affects the lives and health of girls and women, specifically those belonging to indigenous peoples. Objective 7 of the 2014–2018 National Development Plan set out two strategies to address female genital mutilation and other harmful practices (Recommendation 14(c)).
79.The first strategy calls for the requisite human and financial resources to be provided so that indigenous peoples and communities can undertake processes of intergenerational dialogue and provide care and follow-up in cases of cases of female genital mutilation, with a view to eradicating the practice, while the second calls for the development of agreed guidelines for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and care with a differential focus. Both strategies build on the efforts of many institutions — the Ministry of Health, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, the ministries of the Interior, Education and Culture, the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, and the National Institute of Forensic Medicine (INML) — which drew up the Inter-institutional Action Plan for the Eradication of Practices Harmful to the Life and Health of Indigenous Women and Girls.
80.Under the project developed in 2016, the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Risaralda Territorial Health Directorate, arranged for interdisciplinary teams to work directly with communities, adopting an intercultural perspective, to care for and maintain the health of children and pregnant women and to devise and implement strategies for health promotion and disease prevention so that cultural changes can take place in the short, medium and long term leading to the eradication of female genital mutilation. In that context, in order to identify the health status of the target population, as well as their conceptions of sexuality and female genital mutilation, dialogue is ongoing with such relevant actors as midwives, jaibanás and keepers of traditional knowledge.
81.Female genital mutilation was included as one of the forms of sexual violence listed in the Integrated Information System on Gender-based Violence. Similarly, the National Health Institute, with technical assistance from the Ministry of Health, will include female genital mutilation in the lists of the National Public Health Monitoring System as a form of sexual violence, to be reported at the national level by health sector institutions.
82.The Supreme Court, through the National Commission for the Coordination of the National Judicial System and the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction (COCOIN), participates in community meetings and supports the processes of awareness-building and study of preventive measures, the risks of female genital mutilation and its eradication, reflecting significant progress by indigenous communities in the municipality of Trujillo (Valle del Cauca), who in 2016 joined the public statement of indigenous communities in the municipalities of Pueblo Rico and Mistrató (Risaralda) advocating the abandonment of female genital mutilation.
83.In its role of jurisdictional coordination (between the indigenous jurisdiction and the national judicial system), the Supreme Court raises the issue and increases its visibility with indigenous justice commissioners and territorial authorities of the departments, ensuring that indigenous peoples are involved. Among its achievements have been the first national meeting on justice and sexual violence vis-à-vis indigenous peoples; a second meeting of the special indigenous jurisdiction; and four inter-jurisdictional departmental panels. The Jurisdictional Disciplinary Chamber, for its part, hands down rulings in defence of women’s rights in order to resolve situations of sexual (103) and domestic violence (3).
84.The phenomenon of trafficking in persons is global in its nature and its effects. It results in gross violations of human rights, for which reason the Government totally rejects it and is determined to deal with it in a comprehensive manner.
85.The 2014–2018 National Development Plan sets out various actions being taken by the State, through its institutions, to tackle the crime of human trafficking. That national commitment is evidenced, inter alia, by the 2015 signing of the manifesto on combating trafficking in human beings, signed by the Minister of the Interior, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the administration and 40 mayors and municipal ombudsmen of the department of Norte de Santander.
86.By Decree No. 1036/2016, the 2014–2018 National Strategy for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons was adopted; its purpose is to combat crime and guarantee victims their human rights through measures of prevention, investigation and prosecution, assistance and protection.
87.The Strategy is structured around six central pillars and seven lines of action relating to prevention, assistance and protection, investigation and prosecution, coordination and sustainability, international cooperation and knowledge management. It has been implemented at the national, departmental, district and municipal levels on principles of coordination, subsidiarity, concurrence and complementarity, with an express commitment to its inclusion in departmental development plans and the strengthening of committees to combat trafficking in persons.
88.The Government is promoting the design and implementation of strategies to provide information, raise awareness and empower both the citizenry and officials regarding the existence of the crime. Prevention activities, accordingly, include the following:
•In 2016, the national hotline to combat trafficking in persons fielded calls from 44,718 citizens.
•Through the media and projected displays on important buildings and airports in five capital cities, the messages of the campaign “Con la Trata de Personas NO Hay Trato” [no truck with human trafficking] were disseminated.
•During June and July 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched its fourth campaign on the prevention of the crime of human trafficking in border areas that unfortunately lend themselves to victims’ being smuggled into neighbouring countries. The campaign, entitled “Ante la Trata de Personas NO se haga... el indiferente” [human trafficking: don’t shrug it off], takes a differential, gender-sensitive approach and puts on workshops that combine learning and fun involving adolescents and young people, people of African descent, indigenous people and LGTBI social groups.
•The 2nd International Forum on Human Trafficking, Grooming and Prevention through New Technologies, led by the Ministry of the Interior with the support of social organizations, was attended by a number of panellists and experts, who shared protection ideas and best practices in Internet use for the prevention of trafficking.
•In 2016, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, took the lead in consolidating 17 of the latter’s regional covenants entitled “Territorios comprometidos en erradicar la trata de niños y adolescentes” [territories committed to eradicating the trafficking of children and adolescents].
89.In the area of assistance and protection, the actions of the Colombian Government are focused on the design and implementation of physical and psychosocial recovery programmes:
•Under Decree No. 1066/2015, immediate and longer-term assistance and protection programmes are structured and developed according to the principles of good faith, dignity, participation, privacy, confidentiality, equality and non‑discrimination.
•In accordance with judgment C-470/2016, the territorial bodies provide longer-term assistance to victims of trafficking even in cases where there is no complaint.
•The delivery of immediate and longer-term protection and assistance is coordinated by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, which also administers the Administrative Rights Restoration Process (PARD) for child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation and/or human trafficking.
90.In Colombia, the offence of trafficking in persons and other related offences are criminalized. To effectively prosecute and punish them, specialized groups are designated by the entities responsible for investigation and prosecution.
91.The Attorney General’s Office has 26 prosecutors assigned to conduct investigations related to trafficking in persons, with specialized teams exclusively dedicated thereto. Two prosecutors deal exclusively with crimes of trafficking in persons, child pornography and related crimes targeting children and adolescents. Direct communication channels are established with these dedicated prosecutors in order to strengthen their role in the investigation. In 2017 there have been 220 charges, 213 indictments, 17 acquittals and 88 convictions. To date, 2016 has been the year with the largest number of proceedings: 71 in total.
92.The legal framework of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, has led to the signing and implementation of memorandums of understanding and bilateral agreements with eight countries to date, on the basis of which action plans are being drawn up that provide for concrete actions. In 2017, the entities of the Inter-institutional Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings are working to collaborate more closely with Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.
93.Colombia is a party to Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), a joint initiative of the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its purpose is to support States Parties in providing a comprehensive response to the trafficking and smuggling of migrants through a prevention and protection approach. It was launched in 2017 and is to continue into 2019, undertaking activities aimed at building the key actors’ capacity to deal with such crimes comprehensively. The following activities are being carried out under GLO.ACT:
•Sharing of the Guide on Unaccompanied Child and Adolescent Migrants at Risk of Trafficking in Persons: in May and June 2017, workshops were held with 96 family ombudsmen in four departments, to acquaint them with the Guide and help identify and assist migrant minors vulnerable to the crime of human trafficking.
•Development of the Attorney General’s Office Strategy for the Investigation of Human Trafficking: in May and June 2017, national panel discussions were held in four cities with the aim of exchanging experiences in the investigation of the crime of trafficking in persons. Some 116 prosecutors from all over the country participated and provided inputs for the development of the Strategy.
•Regional meeting on best practices for identifying cases of trafficking in human beings for forced labour: this meeting was held in Bogotá in June 2017 and was attended by experts from the International Labour Organization, the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Ministry of Labour of Guatemala, the Prosecutor’s Office for Human Trafficking and Exploitation of Argentina, and 16 labour inspectors from various departments, as well as entities belonging to the Inter-institutional Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings. The inspectors were appointed as focal points to set up the Network against Trafficking in Human Beings for Forced Labour.
94.The Ministry of the Interior and the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, with the support of the International Cooperation Gender Panel, are implementing the More Women More Democracy strategy as an indispensable tool for the promotion of women’s participation and recognition as political actors and the strengthening of gender equality agendas in peacebuilding and development in Colombia.
95.Pursuant to Sustainable Development Goal 5, that strategy boosted female participation from 20 per cent in 2011 to 36.5 per cent in 2015. At local elections, in the 2016–2019 period, women candidates for positions in governorates, mayoralties, assemblies and councils accounted for 36 per cent of the total; of these, 15.6 per cent were elected. From 2010 to 2014, the share of seats held by women in the Congress of the Republic rose from 16.7 to 22.6 per cent in the Senate and from 12.7 to 19.9 per cent in the Chamber of Deputies.
96.In 2013–2016, in compliance with Act No. 581/2000, women made up some 36 per cent of officeholders at the highest decision-making level. The Legislative Branch did best, with an average of 56 per cent, while the average participation level for the autonomous entities and in the judiciary was 36 per cent. Women’s share of posts at other decision-making levels averaged 41 per cent in 2013–2016, with the Legislative Branch still in the lead at 47 per cent on average; in the judiciary the corresponding rate was 30 per cent.
97.In accordance with national regulations and the provisions of Act No. 2/2015, Constitutional Court judgment C-285/2016 and Agreements 10553/2016 and 10548/2016, the judiciary has incorporated gender equity as a principle and selection criterion in preparing candidate lists for the higher courts, as is evidenced by women’s representation on 43 lists for the appointment of judges: 34 per cent in the case of the Council of State and 33 per cent for the Supreme Court.
98.Based on the above-mentioned lists, in 2013 a woman was appointed to the Council of State and to the Supreme Court, corresponding to 50 and 33 per cent of appointments, respectively. Two women were appointed to the Council of State in 2014, representing 100 per cent of appointments; no lists were prepared for the Supreme Court. In 2015, a woman was appointed to the Council of State, corresponding to 10 per cent of appointments; there were no women appointed to the Supreme Court. In 2016, no lists were prepared for the Supreme Court; no women were appointed to the Council of State. In 2017, three women were appointed to the Supreme Court, corresponding to 30% of appointments.
99.In merit-based selection processes for the judiciary, a gender-sensitive approach was taken to the design of tests of knowledge, competencies and skills.
100.With regard to the participation of ethnic minorities and women with disabilities, the Department of Public Service Administration has since 2016 been gathering information that is highly relevant to any discussion of women’s actual access to senior decision-making levels, including the highest, within the public service. The following data have been reported:
•12 entities with representation of Afro-Colombian women and 2 with officials of Raizal origin at the highest decision-making level.
•18 entities with representation of Afro-Colombian women and 3 with officials of Raizal origin at another decision-making level.
•At 4 per cent of the 251 entities surveyed, there were women at the highest decision-making level with some degree of disability. At another decision-making level, 2 women with a visual impairment were employed and 1 with a motor disability.
101.In 2012 the Network of Women Mayors for Democracy and Peace was established as a way of articulating the interests, needs and proposals of women mayors in the country. The Network’s objective is to ensure greater participation of women, seeking the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in regional management. The Network provides important forums at the national and local levels to highlight women mayors’ management and political impact, to facilitate the exchange of best practices, and to ensure communication and support for better management in processes of conflict transformation, participation, transparency and peacebuilding. In 2017, the Network is working to enhance its capacities, with the support of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and of the Inclusive and Sustainable Communities in Latin America (CISAL) programme of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
102.In the context of the United Nations, Colombia has a female quota in the Committee on Enforced Disappearances whose term ends in 2019 and had female representation in the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
103.The Permanent Missions of Colombia to the United Nations in New York and Geneva are led by Ambassador María Emma Mejía and Ambassador Beatriz Londoño, respectively. In their endeavours, they give prominence to items relevant to the gender agenda and foster important initiatives in favour of women. As of January 2017, 52 per cent of staff accredited by Colombia in its various diplomatic and consular posts were women.
104.In the hemispheric context, Paola Buendía has been serving as the government expert in the working group to examine national reports under the San Salvador protocol since 2010. Colombia was elected for the period 2016–2019 as a State member of the steering committee of the Inter-American Commission of Women, and is represented by the head of the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, a position which implies renewed commitment to ensure recognition of the human rights of women and gender equality.
105.As enshrined in article 36 of the constitution and Act No. 43/1993, Colombian nationality is not lost by acquiring another nationality. The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness was incorporated into the Colombian legal framework through Act 1588/2012 and declared enforceable by the Constitutional Court in judgment C-622/2013. The Colombian State acceded to the convention in 2014 and it entered into force in November of the same year.
106.Within the framework of international obligations, in particular those contained in the aforementioned convention, it is expected that policy and regulatory work will be carried out in order to ensure the right to nationality of persons who are in a situation of statelessness, prevent and reduce statelessness cases, and declare the status of stateless persons for purposes of identification, thus providing protection and facilities for naturalization.
107.The two entities with competence over this area are the National Civil Registry Office as the body responsible for processing applications for recognition and confirmation of Colombian nationality at birth (Decree No. 1260/1970) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which, in keeping with Decree No. 869/2016, is responsible for examining, considering and processing applications for Colombian nationality by adoption.
108.From the standpoint of prevention and reduction of statelessness, the National Civil Registry Office issued Circular 059/2015, which ensures registration of all children born in Colombian territory of foreign parents who are holders of temporary visas, thus giving them access to nationality. The Circular, the product of joint technical work by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNHCR, broadens the concept of domicile with regard to nationality.
109.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in application of the Convention, in order to declare the status of stateless persons once it has identified cases, requests the diplomatic mission of the country concerned to report whether the person holds the nationality of that State or may claim it, and proceeds in that manner to facilitate naturalization procedures.
110.The current regulations provide for the issuance of a travel document to persons who are in a situation of statelessness. Accordingly, resolution 5392/2015, in its article 31, provides that:
“[ … ] the travel document is the booklet issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stateless persons, asylum seekers, refugees, foreigners in Colombia who have no diplomatic or consular representation in the country, and other aliens who, in the opinion of the Ministry, cannot obtain a passport of the State of origin or when obtaining a passport of that country is found to be impossible.”
111.In March 2017, the fourth Regional Statelessness Course was held in Bogotá. This specialized academic event, the first to be held in the continent, was attended by international experts from the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion of the Netherlands, the Americas Network on Nationality and Statelessness (ANA), UNHCR and with the participation of 12 countries of the Americas. The course permitted discussion of the problems a stateless person faces in different country contexts and solutions for the eradication of this phenomenon, which affects a significant number of people around the world. At the same time, a workshop was held to train Colombian officials in matters of prevention and reduction of statelessness.
112.Colombia is a party to the #IBelong global campaign for eradication of statelessness by 2024; the campaign was created to give greater visibility to this phenomenon and the specific problems it engenders for children, women and men, seeking to elicit a response from governments and civil society. Colombia patterned its efforts on the actions conducted under the UNHCR Global Plan of Action to End Statelessness, particularly action 3, which concerns eliminating gender discrimination from nationality laws and transmission of nationality from mother to child, as well as between spouses.
113.By the link provided, Colombia Migration offers information about the behaviour of migratory flows in 2012–2016.
114.Considering that the National Development Plan is the guiding instrument for State action, it was significant that education as a point of reference for action was enshrined among its main pillars.
115.In response to Recommendation 26(a), in 2014 the Ministry of Education developed a pioneering document, the first of its kind in Latin America, on policy guidelines for inclusive higher education, setting forth a strategy which suggests an open educational model that addresses diversity in access, retention, quality and attention to populations receiving special constitutional protection, embodying a commitment to closing gaps.
116.In addition, it developed an inclusion index for higher education as a tool to take up the challenge of an inclusive higher education system. The index recognizes the conditions in which higher education institutions find themselves in striving to reflect the diversity of their students and analyses strengths and opportunities for improvement to prioritize, by means of a qualitative process, decisions that emphasize learning, participation and coexistence in the community.
117.In order to involve victims of the armed conflict and ethnic groups in higher education, strategic financing initiatives are being pursued such as the “Compensation fund for access, retention and completion in higher education for victims of the armed conflict”. This fund allows its beneficiaries to access an enrolment fee of up to $2,750 and a monthly stipend of $368. The fund’s regulations provide for parity in allocations and, in qualification criteria, grant extra points for women heads of household, victims of sexual violence, persons with disabilities and children belonging to ethnic groups. Since its establishment in 2013–2016, of the 3,866 awards, 3,012 went to women. By departments, the largest allocations of credits to women were in Antioquia (456), Sucre (238), Bolívar (236) and Cesar (203).
118.Ethnic groups are served by the Alvaro Ulcué Chocué Fund and the Fund for Black Communities. The former operates under an inter-institutional cooperation agreement between the Ministry of the Interior and the Colombian Institute for Educational Credit and Technical Study Abroad (ICETEX) and is established to facilitate access by indigenous people to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through the granting of forgivable educational loans. Between 2010 and 2015, its beneficiaries numbered 8,220, of whom 3,983 were women, the department with highest participation (690) being Guajira.
119.The Fund for Black Communities was established as a special facility granting forgivable credits for higher education designed to ensure access, retention and graduation of low-income students with outstanding academic performance from black communities. Between 2010 and 2016, 14,169 credits were awarded, benefiting 8,885 women. The department of Choco shows the highest participation by women, with 1,373 beneficiaries, followed by Valle del Cauca (1,360) and Bolívar (1,291). The dropout rate in the context of the Funds is 1.9 per cent, with 0.5 per cent for women and 1.4 per cent for men.
120.The “Ser Pilo Pays Strategy” (Estrategia Ser Pilo Paga), a merit-based financial aid programme implemented in 2014, addressed low-income, high-performing secondary school graduates, providing forgivable loans for access to accredited higher education institutions. Analysis of the results of the 2012 SABER tests substantiates the strategy, given that 63 per cent of the 27,000 best scores were achieved by students registered strata 1, 2 and 3. As at March 2017, 31,902 credits had been awarded, benefiting 18,197 women. Of the total, 164 were awarded to indigenous people, of which 64 were for indigenous women.
121.The following statistical information for 2015 reflects greater retention of women in higher education:
•2,293,550 enrolled, of whom 53 per cent were women.
•The cohort dropout rate stood at 45.10 per cent for women and 53.13 per cent for men.
•In technical and technological areas, the cohort dropout was rate 39.52 per cent for women and 46.95 per cent for men, while for the period it was 20.71 per cent and 22.94 per cent respectively.
•There is a downward trend in the dropout rate for both men and women, 2015 being the year with the lowest rate for women, at 8.29 per cent.
•55 per cent of graduates were women. Women’s participation in six of the eight fields of knowledge (health, social and human sciences) is higher than that of men; for example, between 2010 and 2015, 106,351 women and 43,951 men graduated in health fields.
122.Colombia took up the challenge to formulate, develop and manage policies, projects and strategies for the promotion and protection of the reproductive rights of children and young persons, with particular emphasis on the prevention of adolescent pregnancy at the national and local levels, comprising actions linked with institutions that are part of the National Inter-sectoral Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, headed by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute and the Ministry of Health (Recommendation 26 b).
123.With the recognition that unplanned early pregnancies constitute one of the problems that most affect the full exercise of the rights of girls and adolescents and in many cases constitute a reason for leaving school, the intersectoral actions taken have led to a decrease in the percentage of pregnancies among young women aged 15 to 19 from 19.5 per cent in 2010 to 17.4 per cent in 2015 according to the national demographic and health survey.
124.Adolescent pregnancy, being a multi-factor phenomenon, calls for invoking the responsibility of the State, the family and society; this prompted the development of the “Strategy of Comprehensive Care for Children and Adolescents with Emphasis on Prevention of Teenage Pregnancies (2015–2024) — Exercise your Rights and Change the World.”
125.The strategy is enriched by the experience of the Council on Economic and Social Policy, CONPES 147/2012 and incorporates the recommendations of evaluations undertaken within that framework, with the aim of creating conditions for children and young people to improve their life options, be aware of their rights, gain access to information and develop decision-making skills with respect to their sexuality through access to: friendly health services, recreation, safe environments and quality education. In this framework, the education sector is making headway in developing rights-based benchmarks for the implementation of educational strategies in the territorial entities, in order to prevent girls from dropping out of school and adolescents from becoming pregnant or becoming mothers, in particular among the victims of armed conflict, and ensure their retention, as well as to strengthen sex education projects at the preschool, basic and secondary levels.
126.For the adult population who for various reasons abandoned or had never been part of the education system, the following actions are being implemented:
•Baccalaureate education model for peace as a culture of life and coexistence (Bachillerato Pacicultor), designed for extremely vulnerable young people, in particular women victims of conflict or other violence. In 2016 there were 240 such students, of whom 237 were women from the municipalities of Quibdó, Buenaventura and Neiva.
•The National Literacy Programme provides educational assistance for the illiterate population, and particularly women over 15 years of age in situations of displacement or other violence, through an agreement between the Ministry of Education, ECOPETROL and the Organization of Ibero-American States. In 2015, 18,589 women in situations of vulnerability were linked to the education system. In 2016, the programme was implemented in more than 60 territorial entities and currently is being pursued thanks to an agreement with the Norwegian Council with black communities in three territorial entities of Colombia’s Pacific region.
•Flexible Education Models (MEF): This is a portfolio of pedagogically adapted educational models with a curriculum tailored to provision of educational services according to context, with a view to making the system better able to receive and retain populations in situations of displacement, outside of school age or under conditions of high vulnerability.
•Young People in Action: This is a programme that supports young people in poverty and vulnerability, to enable them to continue their technical, technological and vocational studies through the granting of conditional monetary transfers (TMC). In the period 2013–2015 the programme served 214,846 women.
127.In 2016, an information system for monitoring, analysis and prevention of school-leaving (SIMPADE) was implemented which aims to characterize the student population according to variables on violence, early pregnancy, maternity and paternity, and to combine existing information at the levels of educational institution, municipality and department. The system enables estimating per-student dropout rates, which is of great value in adopting of actions aimed at retention and dropout risk mitigation.
128.The Ministry of Education applies auditing and monitoring strategies to provide more reliable and detailed information on educational enrolment disaggregated by sex and ethnicity (Recommendation 26). Between 2013 and 2015 there has been a steady rise in enrolment of indigenous people and other ethnic groups, from 8.1 per cent of the total number of female students enrolled in 2013 to 8.7 per cent in 2015.
129.Information is available on intra-annual dropout rates, disaggregated by sex, ethnicity and territorial units, required to guide decision-making towards the achievement of equal opportunities for women in education. It was noted in 2015 that the rate in levels of preschool, basic and secondary education at the national level was 2.88 per cent for women and 3.63 per cent for men.
130.Legislative measures adopted:
•Act No. 152/2012 adopting the Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
•Decree 2733/2012 regulating article 23 of Act No. 1257 and establishing a deduction of 200 per cent in the statement of income and other taxes for those who employ women victims of violence.
•Decree 721/2013 which regulates the participation of domestic workers in the family allowance system.
•Decree 2490/2013 which established the Intersectoral Commission for the Inclusion of Information on Unpaid Household Work in the System of National Accounts.
•Act No. No. 1788/2016, which recognizes the right to benefits for women domestic workers to receive service bonuses.
•Law 1804/2016 which establishes the State policy for comprehensive early childhood development “from zero to always.”
131.In the area of occupational equity with a gender approach, research is being carried out to consolidate specific information and data to facilitate analysis of the challenges facing women in the workplace. In that regard it is appropriate to mention:
•In 2016, 42 out of 100 persons working were women, an increase of 2 percentage points compared with 2010.
•Between 2010 and 2016, out of a total of 3.3 million new jobs, 1.6 million were for women.
•At present, there are approximately 9,283,000 employed women, of whom 36.3 per cent are working in formal jobs; in 2010, the rate of formal employment for women was 30.1 per cent.
•The female participation rate rose from 52.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2010 to 55.4 per cent in the same period of 2016. Unemployment fell from 14.6 per cent to 10.7 per cent, compared to a reduction of 2.6 percentage points at the national level, which demonstrates that the rate for this population is declining faster than the national rate and progress is being made in narrowing gaps in the labour market.
•For ECLAC, Colombia represents a step forward in opportunities for women, which is explained by greater access to education and work experience.
132.In 2016, the Colombian State acceded to the 2013 recommendation of the Council on Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, which is an important tool to implement programmes for gender equality in the labour market. The Ministry of Labour and the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity formulate the national public plan for occupational equality with a gender perspective.
133.With a view to eliminating gender wage gaps and encouraging the integration of women into the labour market on fair and equitable terms, the Ministry of Labour is conducting the following activities (Recommendation 28(a)):
•Implementation of the Equipares seal of occupational equity, which includes a specific dimension on wage equality.
•Proposed amendment to Act1496/2011 in order to ensure its adequate and effective implementation.
•Establishment of the Sub-committee on Gender in the Standing Committee on Wages and Employment Policy (resolution 758/2016). The subcommittee, composed of trade unions, trade union federations and the Government, is permanent in nature and represents a step towards the strengthening of social dialogue in the area of gender equity in the workplace.
134.The following are the results of the Programme for Gender Equity in Labour Matters (Recommendation 28 (b):
•Placement of women in sectors of high male dominance: the Ministry of Labour promotes greater male participation in housework and encourages the inclusion of women in traditionally male activities. In 2015 training was provided in welding, software, auto parts, footwear and apparel to 1,790 victims of the armed conflict, of whom 996 were women. Communication campaigns are under way to promote redistribution of roles and to enhance the role of women as a force for development.
•Formalization of sectors of high female dominance: efforts to bring about the formalization of domestic service and manicurists.
•Protection of labour rights: face-to-face and virtual training is conducted for labour inspectors to mainstream a gender perspective in the performance of their functions and in handling cases of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. 856 inspectors were appointed in 2016.
•Labour Inclusion Strategy with Gender Equity: designed to mitigate barriers that restrict women’s access to employment opportunities. In 2016 the strategy was implemented in 6 cities and 90 staff were trained gradually to boost local technical assistance and encourage participation by women in the labour market. Since the socialization of the strategy, 25 companies have aligned their staff recruitment and selection processes with a gender perspective. In 2017, there are plans for the implementation of the strategy in the 43 Employment Agencies throughout the country, of which 23 are located in 14 departments and provide specialized services for women and counselling on child care services and mobility in the labour market.
•Employment equity certification programme — Equipares: since 2013 this programme is implemented by the Ministry of Labour with the support of the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity and UNDP. It is a tool for cultural transformation of organizations, designed to promote equity, contribute to increased competitiveness and achieve a redistribution of paid and unpaid labour burdens between women and men. To date, 54 private companies from different sectors are involved, impacting directly nearly 85,000 workers. 16 companies have been recognized with the first-level “Equipares seal: Commitment to Equality,” and eight were awarded certification at level II: “Implementation of Actions for Equality.” Plans aim to achieve involvement by more than 15 companies by the end of 2017. In 2016, the programme was implemented in the rural areas of Montes de María, Cesar, Huila and with producer organizations and associations that bring together more than 500 producers. It also implements the model SCORE with small businesses. The Equipares model is currently being adapted to governmental entities.
•Workshops on empowerment of women: since 2017 workshops have been initiated for women who turn to employment centres in search of work opportunities in 6 departments, including the city of Bogotá. 16 workshops were conducted in March, with participation by about 400 women who received tools to strengthen their security and self-confidence through techniques of self-knowledge and building resilience during job search processes.
135.In response to Recommendation 28(c), the National Development Plan establishes that the Government headed by the National Planning Department (DNP), in coordination with the entities comprising the inter-sectoral commission for the inclusion of information on unpaid household work in the System of National Accounts (Decree 2490/2013) and with the support of social organizations and the private sector, will create the institutional, technical and economic bases to develop the national system of care and define the national agenda on this matter. Progress is being made in the definition of conceptual bases and diagnostics of supply and demand for care and expected impacts.
136.In the framework of Act No. 1413/2010, the National Statistical Office (DANE) has made headway with recognition of unpaid households work through the following actions:
•Publication in 2013 of the first National Time Use Survey (ENUT) offered information on the time spent by the population aged 10 and over in activities of paid work, unpaid work, and personal work, giving added visibility to the relationship between the care economy and the rest of the economy.
•Measuring time poverty and income, an effort which seeks to identify hardships or time shortfalls of households with regard to domestic and care tasks required to achieve a minimum level of wellbeing.
•During 2016–2017, DANE conducted the ENUT II survey, the results of which are slated for publication.
•In 2017, with the assistance of OXFAM, a simulator of domestic work and unpaid care for the household and the community was constructed, intended to highlight the contribution of domestic work and unpaid care.
•The Expanded Work Matrix (ATM) was issued, providing information and indicators disaggregated by sex on the total work done by the population of working age, the situation of the labour market and occupational position.
137.In 2016 the enactment of Act No. 1804 reaffirmed commitment to comprehensive care of early childhood and provided the conceptual, technical and management bases to ensure comprehensive protection. In September 2017, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) provided comprehensive care to 1,059,507 young children in 26,901 service units around the country, without prejudice to other forms of child care of the ICBF offering a range of services for low-wage workers, addressing the diverse needs of the child population.
138.In line with Recommendation 28(e), a Strategic Plan to Prevent Sexual and Workplace Harassment at Work was implemented, containing elements related to: (i) a perception survey of sexual harassment in the workplace; (ii) construction of a guide/protocol for dealing with cases of sexual harassment, together with the Attorney General’s Office and the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity; (iii) gender equity training and sensitization of labour inspectors at the local level; (iv) development of workshops and seminars on occupational and sexual harassment in the workplace for both businesses and stakeholders in the world of work; and (v) working with companies and organizations that are part of Equipares on prevention of occupational and sexual harassment in the workplace.
139.Colombia recognizes that health with a gender approach promotes equal conditions for men and women to exercise their rights fully and to enhance their potential to be healthy. In order to overcome gender inequalities that still persist, the country is redoubling efforts on maternal mortality, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, cervical and breast cancer, and mental disorders, among others. Sexual and Reproductive Health is a tool that contributes to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people, and services should be used to meet the needs of the community, without discrimination of any kind. Accordingly, the Colombian health system is forging ahead in the design and enhancement of its information systems, to build epidemiological profiles of the population and to identify gender inequalities, for example, in morbidity and mortality due to chronic diseases.
140.The most important development in national public health policy was the enactment of the 2012–2021 Public Health Plan, aimed at achieving equity in health through implementation of a multidimensional and cross-cutting approach that will ensure the health and wellbeing of the population. In addition, Act No. 1751 was enacted in 2015 to regulate the fundamental right to health.
141.The efforts undertaken by the Government in this area have yielded the following results:
•Coverage of 95.7 per cent by the healthcare system, guaranteeing access to health for more than 46.6 million Colombians in 2016, which represents an increase of 3.9 million new participants compared with 2010.
•49.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016, compared with 71.64 in 2010.
•Reducing the infant mortality rate from 20.4 deaths under one year of age per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 17.2 in 2016.
•Inclusion of more than 30 biologicals in the expanded immunization plan.
•Increase in vaccination coverage: 87.9 per cent and 88.5 per cent (Triple Viral and bacterial Triple DPT) in 2010 to 91.2 per cent and 92.4 per cent, respectively, in 2016.
142.Pursuant to the Recommendation 30(a), from a differential and rights approach, a broad framework for public policy on health was defined, which reiterates the obligation of health care providers to ensure safe abortions for all women and girls on the three decriminalized grounds, an issue that was discussed extensively in the 2015 report on follow-up to recommendations.
143.As a mechanism of control, regulation and monitoring, an Individual Registry of Delivery of Health Services is being implemented for collecting information relating to abortion procedures performed by the different health service providers in the country.
144.Development of a set of clear and updated guidelines on the available technology for the provision of legal abortion services in an adequate manner, which address not only medical aspects, but biopsychosocial considerations relevant to dealing with the decisions and needs of women and girls regarding continuation of a pregnancy. Progress made:
•Policy development to ensure access to abortion under conditions of safety, quality and timeliness.
•Development of tools for reporting on routes and obligations with regard to legal abortion.
•Training processes for health professionals to ensure the provision of the service at all levels of care.
145.The Ministry of Health pursues a continuous process of strengthening abortion capacities throughout the country, including contents related to the scope of application of the grounds specified in ruling C 355/2006, with a focus on broader interpretation of the health grounds. These facilities deal with medical, psychological and technical aspects for the provision of comprehensive and safe abortion services.
146.Training processes are under way nationwide in the medical field regarding abortion care at the first level of complexity, emphasizing MVA and the use of medications as methods of first choice for the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
147.In March 2017, the national food and drug monitoring authority INVIMA approved the sale of Mifepristone, an oral method of abortion which, combined with Misoprostol, significantly reduces complications and provides greater efficacy and safety in the procedure. Under General Health and Social Security System (SGSSS) services, medicines and procedures are made available for the practice of safe abortion.
148.The Ministry of Health designed specific mechanisms for early detection and appropriate management of obstetric complications, including those arising from unsafe abortions. In that regard various actors in the health sector produced and disseminated the Protocol for Prevention of Unsafe Abortion, which includes guidelines for appropriate care of abortion complications (Recommendation 3 (b)).
149.A Clinical Safety Model for Emergency Obstetric Care has been implemented as a set of tools for continuous improvement of health institutions within the System of Compulsory Quality Assurance, through which regular assessment is conducted of the network of services available for the care of obstetric emergencies of high and medium complexity, validating and implementing the strategy for the prevention of teenage pregnancy, providing differentiated care scenarios and specialized approaches that address specific situations and events related to abortion. The Ministry of Health has issued Circular No. 016/2017 on safe and dignified care of pregnant women.
150.As a major strategy to contribute to prevention of adolescent pregnancy (Recommendation 30(c)), and giving scope to the information contained in article 10 on social prosperity, with the support of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute and the Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, implementation proceeded between 2014 and 2015 on the pilot project called “Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy”. A point of reference was document No. 147/2012 of the Council on Economic and Social Policy, establishing the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, the taking of informed and responsible decisions and the prevention of unplanned pregnancies among adolescents aged 14 to 17, encouraging direct participation by adolescents in the training strategies and specialized assistance for strengthening the “More Families in Action” programme. The implementation of the pilot was made possible through conditional monetary transfers in five cities and Social Innovation in three, structuring user-friendly health services and promotion of knowledge, attitudes and practices of sexual health promotion via social participation and educational entertainment. 1,084 women enrolled in this project.
151.Through the Ministry of Health, technical assistance processes are being focused on actors in the health sector to promote modern contraceptive methods, especially long-term methods, strengthening capacities for counselling and provision of modern contraceptive methods through medical contraceptive eligibility criteria and promoting strategies for women to make decisions about use of the methods. A manual is available for the provision of contraceptive methods (Recommendation 30 (d)).
152.In response to Recommendation 30(e), an internal panel on sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities was formed, mandating different units of the Ministry of Health to frame actions to guarantee sexual and reproductive rights, particularly of women and girls. In 2017, in compliance with Constitutional Court judgment T 573/2016, a participatory process was launched with organizations of persons with disabilities and organizations working for the rights of this population, noting in particular the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the Government of Colombia in 2016. To ensure informed decisions by persons with disabilities regarding sexual and reproductive rights, Resolution 1904/2017 was issued by the Ministry of Health.
153.With respect to women living with HIV, through participation by various sectors in the national response to sexually transmitted infections and HIV, a national consultation took place to develop conception and contraception contents designed to highlight these women’s sexual and reproductive rights. The result of the above is a preliminary document proposing adjustments to Decree No. 1543/1997, which provides that women and men with HIV are not to be subject to compulsory sterilization.
154.For the purpose of securing adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, through the 2010–2020 ten-year plan on breastfeeding, strategies have been strengthened with a view to guaranteeing women’s right to adequate information, enabling them to make decisions on their readiness to breastfeed their children or not, through infant feeding counselling classes.
155.The maternal and perinatal care scheme includes monitoring the nutritional status of women through consultations on pre-conception, pregnancy and childbirth, as well as guidance on proper nutrition in first thousand days of life. Woman-friendly and child-friendly institutions were implemented as a strategy to ensure dignified, humanized quality care during prenatal monitoring, childbirth and puerperium. 42,044 pregnant women and nursing mothers were attended to from 2015 to 2017.
156.The enactment of Act No. 1823/2017 is intended to promote environments that facilitate the practice of breastfeeding by women working in the governmental, private and community spheres through the strategy of human milk banks, which provides guidance to mothers in the practice of breastfeeding and a pasteurized human milk as a resource for neonatal and child survival.
157.The Government is implementing, inter alia, the following entrepreneurship programmes aimed at ensuring equality in the economic and social life of women in the national territory:
•Capitalization of micro-entrepreneurship: through capitalization of micro-business, by means of knowledge transfer and social, environmental and business assistance, the social capital of productive and social organizations is being strengthened. 49,751 women were served between 2010 and 2015.
•Women savers: opening up the possibility of real access to the microfinance system and to incentives that promote the culture of saving, and consolidating the capacities of women in situations of vulnerability and displacement. 315,602 women were served between 2010 and 2015.
•Recovery of non-performing assets: strategy for employment and income generation, by revival and recovery of assets with productive potential or by reassigning them to productive projects under way. A total of 34,164 women were served between 2010 and 2015.
158.In 2014, in response to the recommendations of the national planning department and the Expert Mission on Income Generation conducted by the Government with the support of USAID, adjustments were made to entrepreneurship programmes in 2016, including the following:
•My Business Association: builds capacities aimed at creating productive projects as a means for income generation through access to accumulation of assets for sustainable productive inclusion. 19,125 women were served in 2016.
•Employment for Prosperity: helps vulnerable and displaced persons to enter the labour market by providing capacity-building and support for overcoming certain barriers to job-seeking. 3,132 women were served in 2016.
159.As a tool for economic empowerment of women in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), significant headway is being made in implementing and enhancing initiatives to encourage ICT use. While the challenges will still be many, significant progress can be seen today in the pursuit of more than 80 initiatives that are committed to Colombian women’s development. In that respect, the following actions are being taken.
•“Plan Vive Digital”: responds to the challenge of use and appropriation of technology throughout the country. More than 85,000 women have been trained in basic office automation, computer and Internet tools. More than 170,000 women in the civil service have been certified in ICT skills.
•Process of Digital Literacy: provides basic training in ICT to build competencies in the use of technological tools. More than a million women have achieved digital literacy.
•The national “Women Have Rights” strategy: disseminates information and promotes responsibilities and protocols of care for women victims of gender violence and displacement.
•“I Trust ICT: Responsible Internet Use”: a strategy for interaction with and responsible use of technologies, focusing on phenomena such as sexual exploitation, sexting and grooming. More than one million people have been sensitized nationwide.
•“Net Evolution” (Redvolución) Programme: generates knowledge and awareness in the educational community about the potential use of the Internet. 60,000 girls and women advised directly.
•“Digital Brigade” strategy: recognizes and encourages responsibility and solidarity in using the technological skills of social network users. The “Women’s ICT Squad” is intended to identify and promote access to and productive use of ICTs, particularly social media. Digital Citizenship Programme: develops training plans and ICT skills certification. More than 265,000 women certified.
160.Considering the changing living conditions of women living in the countryside, it became necessary to strengthen the mandates of Act No. 731/2002, through two actions given priority in the 2014–2018 National Development Plan and related to the establishment in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) of the Directorate for Rural Women, which has been in operation since March 2017, and the participatory design of a Comprehensive Public Policy on Rural Women, which will include an ethnic, age and territorial approach geared to overcoming urban-rural gaps as well as making progress in guaranteeing rights.
161.Other legislative and administrative measures taken in the reporting period are noted below:
•Act No. 232/2016 provides for rankings in the qualification criteria for allocation of family allowances for rural social housing, giving priority to households with children under 12, older persons and persons with disabilities; female rural heads of household, workers in the informal sector and community mothers; and members of ethnic groups.
•Circular 002/2016, which gives priority to female heads of household and rural women who filed applications for allocation of vacant land, parcels from the National Savings Fund (FNA) or applicants for subsidies.
•To ensure more efficient implementation of resources and improved capacity to intervene on the ground, and to consolidate the new institutions that will respond to the challenges of the post-conflict period with regard to development of the countryside and implementation of the peace agreement, decrees 2364/2015 and 2363/2016 have been enacted, creating the Agency for Rural Development (ADR) and National Lands Agency (ANT) respectively.
162.In point 1 of the peace agreement, which covers the comprehensive rural reform, priority is given to women living in the countryside, in the following terms:
“[...] The plans and programmes agreed upon as part of comprehensive rural reform must have a territory-, ethnic- and gender-based perspective that will require the recognition and consideration of the economic, cultural and social needs, characteristics and peculiarities of the territories, women throughout their life-cycle, rural communities and vulnerable groups, and they must guarantee socio-environmental sustainability.”
163.In the process of regulating the agreements through the fast-track legislative procedure, policy instruments are made with specific provisions to promote and guarantee the rights of women and to settle the historical debt to the Colombian countryside, relying for that purpose on the following:
•Decree-law 902/2017, which provides for concrete measures for recognition of the care economy and rural women as beneficiaries of priority programmes of access and formalization of land tenure;
•Decree-law 893/2017, which creates development programmes with a territorial approach;
•Decree-law 890/2017, which contains provisions for the formulation of the national plan for the construction and improvement of rural social housing;
•Decree-law 895/2017, which creates a high-level comprehensive security system for political activity;
•Decree-law 885/2017, which amends Act No. 434/1998 and establishes a national council for peace, reconciliation and coexistence;
•Decree 896/2017, establishing the National Comprehensive Programme for the Substitution of Illicit Crops.
164.In order to ensure access to land, administrative mechanisms were established with a gender approach, including the following:
•Municipal institutional analysis to strengthen programmes, projects and areas of participation, as well as local actors for inclusion, and reflect the socio-territorial interests of women;
•Support for rural women in the process of visits to premises, establishing differential routes and recommendations with a gender perspective;
•In publication of the booklet for women owners, explaining the next steps and the importance of formalization of land tenure;
•Strengthening dialogue with women to present their cases and expectations regarding access to land tenure;
•Follow-up strategy to measure the development of the gender approach in the territories, through indicators and recommendations to influence routes of attention for specific cases. The strategy was built with the participation of organizations linked to participation and socialization spaces.
165.The foregoing mechanisms have yielded the following results:
•4,357 titles issued from 2012 to the present, 50.24 per cent of which benefit rural women;
•1,157 titles issued by ANT in four departments, 557 of which benefit women;
•More than $4 million awarded between 2014 and 2015 by ANT and the UARIV victims unit to 290 families, as part of the process of reparations;
•Awarding of rural social housing for 29,886 families, of which 43 per cent on average are households with women heads of household.
166.With regard to the restitution of land, affirmative action measures are under way to overcome barriers and realize priority access by women to land restitution and to empower them in the post-judgment stage. Achievements:
•Appropriation of methodologies for incorporating gender perspective by professionals of the 27 territorial land restitution units dealing with women’s cases.
•Qualification of technical capacities of more than 7,500 officials from the land restitution unit and other national and territorial entities for recognition of women’s property rights and for service with a differential focus in the restitution process.
•The programme of special access by women to the land restitution process, in its second phase, had the support of UN Women and the participation of 500 women who had been granted restitution.
•Women’s initial participation in the restitution process was over 40 per cent. As a result of socialization of public land restitution policy and self-recognition of women as subjects of law, 7,155 women have been protected and identified in judgments, representing 50.21 per cent of the total population.
•To date, 2,800 women leaders and 9,731 women victims have been trained to replicate information on the policy and disseminate the programme of special access for women.
•Incorporating gender variables in the application form for registration of land parcels in the register of illegally appropriated lands, strengthening identification of conditions faced by women and their families, and direct and differential treatment of clients in the process. With this information referral routes are activated to other entities and the judge is made aware of the vulnerabilities of applicants for restitution.
167.There are 40 special circuit civil courts and 15 offices of judges dedicated to land restitution. A specialized civil chamber for restitution has been established in the courts of four judicial districts. These measures facilitate the issuance of differential orders and judgments in favour of women.
168.With regard to economic empowerment and support for productive entrepreneurship, between 2011 and 2014 the Rural Women’s Programme implemented projects co-financed with grants to women’s organizations to improve their productive, commercial and organizational capacities, and to enhance their access to markets and to goods and services as well as recognition of their rights. The programme’s outcomes:
•327 associations and 8,680 rural women benefited.
•1,372 national and territorial-level professionals trained to favour the inclusion of a gender perspective in plans and programmes.
•A national competition on best work practices with a gender approach in the rural sector, which awarded a prize to organizations in the top 4 places and provided a duly certified course on gender.
•36 per cent of rural women took part in the project for income generation and large-scale productive capacities for small producers; 30 per cent of these were women victims of the internal armed conflict.
•The Productive Partnership Project, implemented since 2002, seeks to enhance competitiveness and enterprise development of rural communities in a sustainable manner, through partnerships and marketing under specialized standards. On average, 25 per cent of women participate by entering the market and making strides in the marketing of products.
•The Rural Opportunities Programme has been implemented since 2014 to improve the competitiveness and market integration of rural microenterprises and to enhance income and employability among the poorest families. To facilitate access of microenterprises with a majority of women, a specific certification was established, resulting in 37 per cent of rural women benefiting.
•The project “Building Rural Entrepreneurial Capacities.” 60 per cent of beneficiaries of this project established in 2013 are women, for the most part women affected by the armed conflict. 30 per cent of the project’s local service providers are also women.
•In the dairy sector, associations and integration schemes are being promoted to improve productivity, expanding and supplying domestic and international markets. In 2014–2015 about $24 million were earmarked to meet the needs of domestic producers and to strengthen the refrigeration network in 15 departments, benefiting 5,730 women.
•In 2012–2015, the Agency for Rural Development received 1,420 projects for financial and administrative closure, with participation by a total of 8,550 rural women.
169.For the period 2013–2017, the following developments are noted with regard to financing and credit for agricultural and rural development:
•Disbursement of 557,384 loans to women, which corresponds to 51.18 per cent of the target population. 40.52 per cent of the total amount of disbursements went to women;
•Disbursement of 667 and 84 credits to women through FINAGRO (line for rural women) and the Agrarian Bank’s own resources, respectively, resulting in a total outlay of $3.3 million;
•Disbursement of 213,448 loans for people characterized as victims of the armed conflict. 51.18 per cent was for women, accounting for 43.04 per cent of the total amount.
•The department for agricultural financing and risk of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development granted 31,495 loans to rural women for $19 million, or 35.51 per cent of the total amount.
170.Addressing the issue of access to non-formal education for capacity-building, a process of dissemination of Act 731/2002 is taking place through the Primer on the Rights of Rural Women, which was used to prepare trainers and rural women leaders in order to guide replication efforts within their territories. In the framework of Act 1257, a sensitization process is being carried out for recognition of access routes for addressing and preventing gender violence, for property rights and for strengthening mechanisms for citizen participation. In the aforementioned processes women acted as managers of local development, with 3,248 rural women benefiting.
171.The Provincial Centres for Agri-business Management (CPGAs), which provide technical assistance to productive processes of small and medium producers, attended 11,584 women in 2016 in areas such as health protection and environmental sustainability.
172.In 2014, the National Statistical Office conducted the third national agricultural census, which produced geo-referenced and up-to-date statistical information on the sector, yielding a picture of the status of the Colombian countryside and rural women in particular, serving as a key input for strengthening the sector and shaping policy.
173.The Directorate for Rural Women activated mechanisms for ongoing dialogue with rural women’s organizations, which are essential to highlight the importance of the participation and impact of organizations in local, departmental and national scenarios and thus to make effective progress in guaranteeing women’s rights.
174.The Colombian constitution provides that marriage is governed by the civil law and gives the legislative branch the power to establish regulations on it in accordance with the social and cultural realities of the country. Considering that children under the age of 18 do not have the necessary maturity to understand the scope of the decision and its legal implications, and that on the other hand it can cause severe damage in their education and physical and emotional health, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) has intervened to support legislative initiatives aimed at establishing the minimum age for marriage at 18 years. The most recent initiative was put forward in July 2017 with bill 50 “which amends article 116, article 140 (2), repealing article 117 of the Civil Code and other provisions”; the proposal has been published for a second round of debate.
Peace process and women’s participation
175.Women have been a key part of the peace process. From its exploratory phase, the peace process strived to ensure continuing and effective representation by women, in the firm conviction that women and girls play a central and proactive role in building democratic and inclusive societies as the basis for consolidating a stable and lasting peace.
176.At the Havana talks, in addition to women being among the negotiators for both the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army, the Subcommittee on Gender was established, a body unique in its kind, responsible for mainstreaming the approach throughout the agreement and generating differentiated measures to address particular impacts on persons by reason of gender.
177.The Subcommittee has set as objectives: (i) measures to overcome inequality and stigmatization; (ii) the definition of affirmative action to redress the disproportionate impact that armed conflict has on women, using the tools of transitional justice with a gender perspective; (iii) inclusion of measures to promote empowerment of women at all levels of society; and (iv) introduction of inclusive language.
178.To enrich the work of the Subcommittee, vital contributions were made by 16 women leaders of women’s organizations, 10 Colombian experts on sexual violence, 36 women victims (part of a group of 60), the LGBTI community, former guerrilla women and international women experts in various parts of the world. In the spaces generated for the participation of civil society (forums, round tables, forms, and the Women and Peace Summit), 7,172 contributions were received from more than 301 women’s organizations, this being one of the most active sectors. Contributions mostly referred to: gender references, victims, rural development, access to land, and the need to prioritize women in measures of satisfaction, rehabilitation and restitution.
179.The provisions on gender issues resulted in a proposal for incorporating the gender approach in the Framework Plan of Implementation of the Agreement, which implemented specific actions for women and other cross-cutting measures for implementing entities.
180.The independent study conducted in 2015 by Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy to assess progress at the global, regional and national levels in implementing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), makes the following references to Colombia:
[…] In recent years, peace talks to resolve conflicts in Colombia and the Philippines in particular have seen a significantly greater participation of women as delegates or signatories in the formal processes.
UN Women and the UN country team under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator in Colombia have supported women’s participation in all these aspects — from the public consultations, to the victims’ visits to Havana, to the participation of the delegates themselves.
The provisions established by the Victims’ Act contain special measures to protect the rights of women, and the linking of the reparation processes with land and property reform is one of the elements of the transformative approach […]
181.The Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, signed by the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces — People’s Army on 24 November 2016 and endorsed by the Congress of the Republic six days later, pays special attention to the fundamental rights of women, indigenous peoples, children and adolescents, communities of African descent and other ethnically distinct groups, persons with disabilities, the elderly, the LGBTI population and persons displaced due to the conflict. In keeping with that premise, there are specific provisions relating to victims, political participation, comprehensive rural reform, solution of the problem of illicit crops, end of the conflict, reintegration, and implementation and verification mechanisms that involve women.
182.In 2016, the Commission for Monitoring, Promoting, and Verifying the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CMPVI) (Decree No. No. 1995) was created as the joint body of the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army responsible for monitoring, momentum and verification of implementation of the agreement and resolution of differences that may arise between the parties.
183.The Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, together with the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Council for Human Rights, developed a guide for the response to situations of violence against women in the areas of transitional local zones for normalization and transitional local points for normalization in their proximity, with the aim of informing the members of the monitoring and verification mechanism for the ceasefire regarding identification of acts of violence against women and activation of routes for proper care and protection of victims.
184.The Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace (OACP), produced a document on women as protagonists in peacebuilding, intended as a practical guide for the implementation of the Agreement, which highlights the role of women in peacebuilding and shows how the gender perspective was included.
185.Point 6.1 of the Agreement provides for the establishment of a special entity to contribute to the implementation of the Final Agreement with a gender approach which reflects commitment to the exercise of women’s rights.
186.For the establishment of the entity, between April and May of 2017, 32 departmental assemblies were convened with the participation of 818 women’s organizations, with proposals collected from 29 departments. At the national level, two information days were held, with six teams of women and one team of LGBTI organizations.
187.In keeping with the impetus, constructive effort and monitoring that civil society, especially women’s organizations, has contributed to the human rights agenda, becoming strategic partners in building peace from the ground up, at a public event in July 2017, the Commission for Monitoring, Promoting, and Verifying the Implementation of the Final Agreement conducted the official opening of the Forum, which was made up of women from territorial organizations of four departments, including leaders of rural women’s organizations and rural victims of the armed conflict. At the national level, representatives were selected by the National Commission of Indigenous Women, the Platform for Political Impact of Colombian Rural Women, Women for Peace, the REPEM women’s popular education network, and Colombia Diversa.
188.Since the endorsement of the Final Agreement pursuant to the aforementioned fast-track legislative procedure, an important legislative framework has been adopted and has led to participation by key civil society organizations:
•The Statute for the Opposition provides safeguards for political parties and movements declaring themselves in opposition to the Government.
•Political reinstatement of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army: allows for the transformation of an armed organization into one engaged in politics once it has laid down all weapons.
•Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparations and Non-recurrence: consists of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, including the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which will be responsible for the administration of justice with respect to crimes committed in the context of the armed conflict and provides various special treatments of justice which may not be granted to those who committed serious violations of human rights, as mentioned in paragraph 40.
189.In addition, in April 2017, the President of the Republic, at a public event in the presence of victims, signed three legislative decrees that give life to the truth component of chapter 5 of the Agreement, as follows:
•Truth, Coexistence and Non-recurrence Commission;
•Establishment of the special unit to search for persons deemed missing in the context of and due to the armed conflict (UBPD);
•Establishment of the nominations committee for the election of high officials of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-recurrence, including those of the Truth Commission, the Director of the UBPD and the judges of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.
190.The selection of the 51 judges of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Director of the UBPD was conducted through an open process that was launched in July of 2017, with candidacies by more than 2,100 people who demonstrated diversity of knowledge and experience, and from whom some 15,000 citizens’ observations were received, which were of great value for the selection exercise.
191.September 2017 saw the publication of the list of names of 38 elected judges (20 of the Tribunal and 6 of the chamber) and 13 alternates (6 for the chambers and 7 for the Tribunal), which shows that the selection committee heeded the mandate of the Agreement regarding pluralism:
•Of the 51 judges, 28 are women;
•Nearly one fourth of the members are indigenous or of African descent (8). There is a female indigenous representative of the Kankuama ethnicity;
•14 of the 18 judges of the Tribunal are academics (11 with doctorates) and worked mainly in human rights organizations;
•Luz Marina Monzón, a human rights defender, was elected Director of the. UBPD.
192.Through the Agency for Reintegration and Normalization (ARN), a Reintegration Route was adopted, which consists of a multidimensional model of care aimed at full reintegration of individuals into social, economic and political life. The model covers eight dimensions related to personal, family, educational, civic, habitability, productivity, health and safety aspects, addressing the gender approach and developing lines of action relating inter alia to identifying women’s needs in the reintegration process.
193.The National Centre for Historical Memory (CNMH) implements the non-judicial mechanism of contribution to the truth, established under Act No. 1424/2010 with the aim of collecting, systematizing and preserving the information arising from the agreements to contribute to historical truth and reparations, and to produce such reports as may be needed. This work allows demobilized men and women from illegal organized groups who have signed agreements of contribution to the truth to contribute to the satisfaction and symbolic reparation of victims of the armed conflict through their testimony. Between 2014 and 2016, 12 per cent of demobilized women participated in the mechanism, 2016 being the year with the greatest contribution of testimony by women (1,186).
194.Although only ten months have passed since the signing of the Agreement and the start of its implementation, some results are already visible. However, the magnitude of the armed conflict and the humanitarian consequences resulting from it, as well as the complexity of the causes of violence in Colombia, are a corollary of the great effort to be made by the State through its institutions to achieve full implementation, which will require changes in different domains throughout the country.