In August 2014, Decree 1480 was sanctioned in Colombia, establishing 25 May as the ‘National Day for the Dignity of Women Victims of Sexual Violence caused by the Internal Armed Conflict’. This is one of the collective reparation measures proposed by Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya.
Establishing the national day is an important recognition in Colombia given the systematic use of sexual violence in the Colombian conflict by all armed actors – legal and illegal. 25 May was the day in 2000 when Jineth Bedoya was kidnapped, raped and tortured whilst carrying out her work as an investigative journalist. She was investigating arms trafficking in Colombia’s prisons. The gun-running in the prison was part of an important network that operated on the ‘authority of people high up in the military and police command’.
In another important move for women victims of sexual violence in Colombia, the Human Rights Unit of the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the sexual violence case of Jineth Bedoya constitutes a crime against humanity. This step forward gives hope to many other women victims of sexual violence in the Colombian conflict.
ABColombia recognises the very difficult work undertaken by Jineth and other human rights organisations and welcomes the news that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has accepted her case.
Sexual violence has become a pandemic and the worst weapon of war.
– Jineth Bedoya Lima
She added that making 25 May the day to recognise the physical suffering experienced by so many serves to ‘dignify and recognise thousands of women’. Jineth was also recently named in a list of ’20 Colombian Leaders’ in recognition of her work campaigning on violence against women.
On 2 November Jineth travelled to Havana to participate and represent victims at the talks taking place between the Colombian Government and the FARC. Whilst at the talks, Jineth released a statement saying that victims who had attended the peace talks need greater protection after receiving death threats from ex-paramilitaries and criminal drug gangs.
ABColombia support the call of Jineth and others for greater protection for victims and human rights defenders who are working to uncover truth and obtain justice. Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a human rights defender. In the first six months of 2014, 30 human rights defenders were killed.
- Read ABColombia’s report ‘Colombia: Women, Conflict-related Sexual Violence and the Peace Process’ (available in English and Spanish).
- Watch ‘Sexual Violence In Colombia: Giving Survivors A Voice’, Short video by Christian Aid and ABColombia.
- Watch video statements by ABColombia partners on conflict-related sexual violence in Colombia.
- Read the article about Jineth Bedoya in the Observer: ‘Colombian reporter Jineth Bedoya Lima gives voice to abused women’.
- Read the article in Colombia Reports about the statement made by Jineth Bedoya in Havana: ‘Victims attending Colombia peace talks demand protection amid death threats’.
 The Observer, Colombian reporter Jineth Bedoya Lima gives voice to abused women, 14 December 2013.
 Informe semestral SIADDHH 2014: IMAGINA – Informe Enero-Junio 2014, Somos Defensores -August 2014.