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Written by: Verónica González Pérez (Coordinator) Bachelor in Pedagogy and Master in Design, Management and Management of International Cooperation Projects. Érika Alejandra Torres (Publisher) International Relations and Political Studies Sandy Lilian Acevedo (Publisher) Degree in Political Science and Public Management and Studies in Management and Business Administration. In collaboration with: Olga Amparo Sánchez Gómez Director of the Casa de la Mujer, Social Worker with population studies and a specialization in High State Management. Researcher, she was a lecturer at the Javeriana University. Feminist Colombian and activist for the peace of the country. Liliana Silva Miguez Associate with a Master's Degree in International Law and 13 years of experience working for the rights of women with the Casa de la Mujer Designed by: Yovanni Sánchez Advertising and Marketing Specialist Translation: Adriana Najar Research Entomologist. PhD in Entomology, MSc in Entomology, BSc in Biology Renata Kowalczyk Degree in international politics. National Coordinator of a non-profit socio-political organization. Work on public Policies


INDEX INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................... 4 THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ARMED CONFLICT: WOMEN AS DIRECT AND INDIRECT VICTIMS ..................................................................................................................................................................... 5 SEXUAL VIOLENCE ............................................................................................................................... 9 FORCED DISPLACEMENT .................................................................................................................... 10 FORCED RECRUITMENT ...................................................................................................................... 12 OTHER FORMS OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE .................................................................. 13

B. THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PEACE: GUATEMALA, SALVADOR, NORTHERN IRELAND AND AFRICA............................................................................................... 16 GUATEMALA, SALVADOR, IRLANDA DEL NORTE Y ÁFRICA. .................................................................... 24 Guatemala ........................................................................................................................................... 24 El Salvador .......................................................................................................................................... 27 North Ireland ........................................................................................................................................ 28 Africa – Somalia ................................................................................................................................... 28

C. BARRIERS FOR RECONCILIATION............................................................................................. 29 THE CULTURE OF VIOLENCE ................................................................................................................ 30 EDUCATION FOR PEACE ...................................................................................................................... 31

D. PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN AS POLITICAL SUBJECTS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PEACE 33 WORK FROM THE COMMUNITY: A DAY OF REFLECTION ........................................................................ 35

CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................................................................... 42 APPENDIX.............................................................................................................................................. 44 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................................ 46


INTRODUCTION This document gathers fundamental research carried out by different professionals in the field of peacebuilding, processes of reconciliation and, participation, among others, and is based on the role of women. This research is complemented with the conclusions of the Day of Reflection on Women in Conflict and the Peace Process. This investigation and the mentioned meeting are subsidized by the Office of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain.


THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ARMED CONFLICT: WOMEN AS DIRECT AND INDIRECT VICTIMS Colombia has been immersed for over half a century in an armed conflict between the state and guerrilla groups,which were born in the sixties imposing their presence throughout the national territory, and have been characterized by their violent and indiscriminate actions against civilian population. The complex interactions between dynamics and actions, typical of this conflict, have triggered a series of consequences that have struck directly or indirectly each individual in society. However, these effects have had different political, social, ethnic and, in particular, genre consequences, with the conflict affecting and victimizing men and women in an unequal way. Thus, cases of gender violence have been experienced during the armed conflict, with this type of violence being understood as such based on gender norms and exclusions to physically and psychologically demoralize people, with women being the most visible target. (Jack, 2003) This is how the effects of the civil war in Colombia are manifested in violations of human rights, affecting the physical and mental integrity of Colombian citizens, the roles and places occupied by individuals in public and private spaces, as well as their capacity to take decisions. This is reflected in different figures. For instance, those reported by the National Registry of Victims in in 2016, in which there were a total of 7,936,566 victims of the armed conflict of which 50% are women, while the other 50% of victims are divided among unidentified men and LGTBI population. (RUV, 2016) Victims of the Armed Conflict in Colombia GENDER

NUMBER OF PEOPLE

Women

3.942.356

Men

3.936.136

Does not register 56.291


LGBTI

1.783 TOTAL: 7.936.566

Based on data from the Single National Registry of Victims (RUV) http://rni.unidadvictimas.gov.co/RUV

Similarly, it has been shown that "43 out of 100 women affected by the internal armed conflict have been victims of different forms of violence based on gender" (IACHR, 2006, p.17). Violence against women is an inherent aspect of the conflict in the country where they are also used as a means or as a strategy for achieving ends in the struggle for the control of the territory. The consequences of the conflict fall on women placing them as victims of abuse not only physical but also psychological and sexual. Although it is known that these series of aggressions and violations unfortunately occur daily , the conflict experienced by the country intensifies all this type of events, accentuating differences and inequities that affect families and communities in general. In addition, these types of abuses take place most often to women living in conflict zones, being community leaders, having a family or affective relationship with members of either the Colombian Armed Forces or the guerrillas and due to their condition as females. This has had repercussions on the fact that women are also spokespersons and empowered subjects, assuming a leading role in the conflict (Barrios & Rojas Mateus, 2015). In short, women are more than victims and survivors of the armed conflict, they also develop and promote the struggle for human rights, take different initiatives as well as being constructors and weavers of peace. For this reason they also become targets of threats and attacks, with gender-based violence acts resulting in a strong and intimidating message for other women's leaders and organizations working against stereotypes, socio-cultural norms and the status of women commonly accepted. In recent years, the Colombian State and society in general have worked together to promote gender equality, generating significant progress, which will be recognized throughout this document. However, it is necessary to continue promoting gender equality and respect for human rights, since, despite representing a little more than half of the population, women still suffer the greatest inequality and discrimination across all spheres of society. This has


provided a particular and unfortunate context that has affected both the living conditions, and the freedom and security of Colombian women, which has made it impossible for them to enjoy and exercise their rights. As a result, one of the main manifestations of violence against women - directly or indirectly – that has been identified in the context of the armed conflict, include sexual violence, followed by forced displacement, forced recruitment and other forms of physical and psychological violence. Indeed, the United Nations recognized very recently that "the main victimizing acts that women have suffered in the context of the conflict are crimes against sexual integrity, displacement, homicide threats and forced disappearance" (UN Women, 2016, page 23). All the above are situations that women have to endure and that affect each area of their life, apart from being a shared suffering due to the fact that these abuses are taken on by their families, as sequels proper to the conflict.


Act

Women

Men

LGBTI

Does inform

1.

Crimes against freedom and 15.087

1.291

106

340

sexual integrity 2.

Displacement

3.562.849

3.380.992

1.642

32.230

3.

Child and Adolescent Bonding

2.499

5.292

4

187

4.

Homicide

452.421

514.685

103

14.300

Voluntary

or

forced 2.134

2.101

116

abandonment of lands Loss of property

45.521

47.960

23

14.459

No information

12

31

Forced disappearance

76.004

86.408

15

2.424

Kidnapping

8.016

25.305

12

629

Torture

3.909

5.996

18

192

50.494

27

3.292

153.452

352

2.904

Terrorist Act / Attacks / 38.455 Combat / Harassment Threats

164.797

Antipersonnel Untapped

mines ammunition

/ 1.043

9.678

106

/

Explosive device OTHERS

792.312

896.110

550

Based on data from the Unique National Registry of Victims http://rni.unidadvictimas.gov.co/RUV

38.422

not


SEXUAL VIOLENCE It is well known that armed conflicts have a greater percentage of women and children as victims, but women and girls, in particular, can face aberrant forms of sexual violence, which is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "any sexual act, or the attempt to consummate a sexual act or other act directed against the sexuality of a person through coercion by another person, regardless of their relationship with the victim, in any way" (2016). In the same way, this crime is characterized by a certain degree of invisibility within the Colombian society since the percentage of women who decide to denounce is very low either because the fear and shame to be rejected by the society ,so much so that their impunity is found to be around 98%. Equally, it is important to highlight the devastating impact of the conflict on rural, indigenous and Afro-descendent women, for whom the situation becomes more complex when faced with the problem of discrimination based on other grounds than gender (IMP et al, 2013). There are some shortcomings when it comes to prosecuting cases of sexual violence during the armed conflict, which has generated little improvements in regards to justice for women victims, with impunity remaining still very high. Thus, a great degree of distress for the affected populations, including Afrodescendents, indigenous and peasant women, has been generated, because the territories where they live are located where the conflict zones are. Sexual violence, any abuse against physical integrity and the conflict in general have restrained the development of these women and their populations, leading to their social marginalization, which has consequently minimize their possibilities of equity in society and the proper enjoyment of their rights as citizens in comparison with other women in Colombia. This type of violations committed by the actors of the conflict seek to terrorize the population by destroying communities and creating ruptures in family ties. In addition they have other consequences including the indiscriminate and deliberate spread of sexually transmitted infections across poor, conflict-affected populations, municipalities or localities. Another point that is decisive and that reflects the consequences of these indiscriminate


practices are the secondary and post-conflict effects that end in the conflict that has led to unwanted pregnancies, the increase of illegal abortions, diseases and social stigmatization (UN, 2014). The armed conflict involves risks and disadvantages for men and women, and the long-term effects mentioned above, which tend to affect women even more so, being these women those that inherit uncertainties and difficulties.

FORCED DISPLACEMENT Displacement is a further consequence of the presence of illegal armed groups, drug trafficking, anti-personnel mines and disputes over a territory in the context of an armed conflict that gives way to a reality based on insecurity for the population, which forced people to leave their homes and places of origin (UNHCR, 2013). Forced displacement, along with sexual violence, are the two major types of violations against women rights in Colombia, and they constitute about half of the displaced population in the country, which generates a serious humanitarian crisis and places Colombia as one of the countries with the highest percentage of internal displacement in the world. Gender

Expelled people

Received people

Men

3.380.992

3.380.992

LGBTI

1.642

1.642

Women

3.562.849

3.562.849

Does not report

32.230

32.230

Based on data from the Unique National Registry of Victims http://rni.unidadvictimas.gov.co/RUV

The majority of internally-displaced persons are displaced from rural areas to urban centers, meaning that, as mentioned earlier, rural populations (indigenous, afrodescentents and poor people) and in particular women, are the one most affected by the conflict. They are normally forced to flee from all types of violence in order to safeguard the lives of their children from not just the killing but also from the scourge and recruitment by illegal armed groups.


Once in the cities they are confronted with unknown circumstances and even more poverty, which ultimately impacts their human development, quality of life and the progress of the civil population as a whole. These women find themselves in need for psychosocial help since the displacement encompasses a series of drastic and forceful changes that lead to certain traumas, as it generates a transformation in the family and social nuclei, and in the role played by women in the family. This is explicitly stated in one of the reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2006): ‘Among the most tangible consequences from displacement for women are the changes in the dynamics of family and spousal roles and responsibilities due to the death or loss of the spouse or the partner, or to the physical or psychological traumas derived from the violence they suffered before being forced to flee and to the need to adapt socially and economically to a new community and to face the possible of rejection by it (Page 29)’. In other words, displacement involves a turnaround in the lives of the people affected, restructuring traditional families, moving them to a totally different geographic, economic and cultural environment, being exposed to threats, violence and discrimination because of their condition as displaced. Consequently, this situation, which in principle was seen as a temporary or transitory phenomenon in Colombia, has been the reflection of more than 50 years of conflict, victimizing several generations and resulting in various disadvantages for women, because their families not only suffer disintegration but also they are forced to assume new roles within their homes, particularly when their partners or spouses have died. These women become single mothers who take responsibility for ensuring the livelihood and well-being of the members who make up their homes. This sometimes affects the poverty index of the country, as by being forced to an urban environment full of uncertainties, with limited access to the necessary resources that will allow them to have a life worthy for themselves and for their families. In this regard, the report on Gender and Armed Conflict (2003) states that:


‘Displacement also implies social exclusion and poverty - conditions that by themselves can prolong the conflict. Forced displacement is often used as a war strategy oriented to gender relations through family disintegration and social destabilization (...) Demographic changes due to the conflict have led more women to take over the heads of households. This has contributed to changes in the division of labor that in some occasions have created new opportunities for them, but in some others have led them marginalized (Page 16)’. Not only women are confronted with the challenges of the conflict itself, the new environment they are exposed to or the role they play in both family and society, but also to the challenges they face in adapting to a new social and cultural environment. The need to find new sources of subsistence and their low levels of education often led women to perform degrading jobs that affect their own integrity. In addition, in a large number of cases, these displaced women have special needs, be disabilities or illnesses, that due to their condition of poverty, rarely are addressed. As a result, displaced women face further disadvantageous situations such as ruptures with the places of origin and loss of memories, assets and heritage while being exposed to new social and geographical environments that threaten their cultural survival and generate social destabilization and refrain them from the full enjoyment of their rights as women in society.

FORCED RECRUITMENT The civil war conflict in Colombia has not only led to women from vulnerable communities to assume the role of single mothers but also to assume a leading role as combatants within the conflict either voluntarily or through forced recruitment. Illegal armed groups that demand staff within their ranks, subject women from the most vulnerable populations to forced recruitment. In other words, the conflict have placed women not just as victims but also as perpetrators, belonging in some way to the armed life playing an active role within organizations outside the law. Indeed, women constitute about 40% of the insurgent ranks and become more visible in social struggles (Barrios & Rojas Mateus, 2015). This recruitment policy is seen as an epidemic that has affected the most defenseless population in the country. This implies that the exercise of their rights, such as access to education or fulfilment of their basic needs, which are


motivating factors to pursue goals in life, are violated. In situations like these, many people sees the only exit to the conflicto to take the path of arms and have a life totally dependent on the development of the conflict. In this way, a total change of life is evidenced where they give up dreams, projects and possible experiences of personal growth to submit to the sacrifices of the war. From another point of view, the female combatant takes the lead and a certain empowerment that makes her role palpable in the dynamics of the conflict because they represent the other side of the war and of illegal armed groups. In this sense, armed groups consider women within their organizations not only as combatants but also as sexual providers since the guerrillas "use sexual violence in the forced recruitment of girls and women as combatants and for the purpose of providing sexual services. Women are forced to use contraceptive methods, to have sex and to abort in case of pregnancy. Indeed, forced abortion is a policy of the FARC" (ABColombia, 2013, page 10). In this way women are kept under patriarchal conditions despite the performance of their work based on masculinized and war-dependent jobs. They are under a yoke with asymmetrical roles and power relations, without the chance to escape, and are condemned to accept mistreatment and to live in constant threat of punishment until the loss of their lives. But their sufferings do not stop when the conflict ceases because there is a heavy cultural burden, which is why they are liable to stigmatization by society and the communities that host them. In this way, women who have been combatants, whether in conflict or post-conflict, become more marginalized within society by engaging them in aspects that are related to violence and that traditionally belong to a purely male domain. For that very reason women combatants or ex-combatants are excluded or have a relegated place when establishing new political and social structures (Jack, 2003). It is also how the perspective of victims in the post-conflict and the transformation that takes place in the society for the reintegration of the FARC-EP and other guerrillas.

OTHER FORMS OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE Other forms of physical and psychological abuse and violence range from threats, torture, disappearances, mutilations by explosive mines to kidnappings and death. These are indisputable signs of the situation of vulnerability in which


the Colombian society is immersed in and are influenced by a culture that sees people as weapons of war and targets of intimidation. Women assume the consequences and results of these acts as direct or indirect victims "(...) direct because they are subjected to torture, murder, disappearance, kidnapping, forced displacement and sexual violence. Indirect due to the death, disappearance, threats and kidnapping of their relatives"(Cadavid Rico, 2014, page 304). These are aberrant acts that discredit any type of struggle and/or political actions because in a large percentage of cases they are intended to be sources of income and a way to achieve particular interests by guerrilla groups. Consequently, this type of victimization has greatly affected human rights since it places the civilian population at risk and has differential behaviors related to the intensification of the conflict. Another aspect worth mentioning is violence against women who are either social defenders or community leaders. These brave women are the target of violence that "aimed at putting an end to their work and their objectives of strengthening good governance and their fight against impunity. Such activities are perceived by armed groups as a threat to their power, status and domination in the conflict" (ABColombia, 2013). This type of violence narrows down the opportunities for women in society to contribute to the construction of peace. In conclusion, and as has been shown thus far in this document, women are the first victims of the armed conflict in Colombia and for this it is vital to guarantee their participation in the design of a post-conflict political agenda and the construction of a stable and durable peace. As Maria Barrios and Natalia Rojas (2015) mentioned: Currently, with the peace negotiations being carried out by the Colombian government and the FARC, women are given a very important role because they are the main victims of the conflict and, in turn, active peacebuilders. They must be heard and taken into account if the peace agreements are to be inclusive and aimed at ending the situation of vulnerability and victimization of women, at least when caused by the conflict (Page 10).


Thus, it is important to understand that the humanitarian actions, public policies and other actions of the State in the peace process must respond to the requirements of the different groups of society, particularly vulnerable women. Crimes against women tend to be relegated to the private sphere and in many contexts violence against women is seen as a simple collateral damage when in fact they are deliberate and consensual strategies for which there are a number of obstacles for perpetrators to be judged by such terrible acts. For this reason, we want to highlight the importance of organizations that work for war victims, as they aim to eliminate the lack of (a) knowledge that vulnerable women have regarding their rights and (b) support by the government and the society as a whole. A very striking difference between genders was detected when male and female victims were asked about their petitions for the government. The former were more inclined to ask for compensation for the loss of crops and land, while "the most frequent requests of the female victims were: education for their children, access to the health system, punity for the guilty, peaceful resolution of conflicts and the right to live without fear" (GossaĂ­n, 2015). Another panorama that women offer when it comes to seek peaceful solutions of the conflict and work for the development of communities. In this way, we highlight the vital role of women at each post-conflict phase, which demonstrates how necessary the integration of women and their considerations in peace-building processes is, and which helps in reaching a longterm stability for the country as women are capable of fulfilling the role of leaders in decision-making and influencing the country's public agenda. In short, women are all victims for which there is a great work to do because the armed conflict not only impacts their lives but leaves an entire country hurt and with irreparable consequences.


B. THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PEACE: GUATEMALA, SALVADOR, NORTHERN IRELAND AND AFRICA In times of war, human life becomes a currency for economic and political purposes because in the minds of many people there still exists the idea of legitimated violence as a valid means to achieve political or social purposes. The exclusion of women throughout history in all war-like conflicts has been an ongoing and accentuated phenomenon due to a predominant male leadership, which has relegated women to the care of the home and family, leaving them with the only option to enjoy the freedom denied by her status as a woman to join the battle and armed groups outside the law. The role of victims for women has derived from the social exclusion from the conflicts through history and not from of the weakness that has been said to be a characteristic of the female gender. Thus, for many decades and even centuries women were denied of their rights until the first feminist manifesto in the Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens or the Vindication of the rights of women. Only then, crimes such as rape, mistreatment or compulsory abortion were finally considered as serious crimes against humanity (PortolĂŠs, 2006). Strengthened by the intense suffering caused by the constant wars, women have been at the forefront of peace building and reconciliation and this is reason why in 2000 the UN Security Council adopted the resolution 1325 about women, peace and security. This resolution marked a milestone in history, as it recognizes the right of women to participate actively in peace-building, prevention of violence, but above all, it allows women to be part of decisionmaking. This means that the evolution of the role of women has gone from being a currency of exchange to being an active agent in the development and maintenance of peace, highlighting the irrefutable need to be protected in all contexts of the armed conflict, against sexual violence, forced displacement, social exclusion and loss of land, among others. The armed conflict, by not incorporating the gender variable, has systematically made women, both in times of war and in peace, face all kinds of disadvantages. For this reason it is necessary to specifically address the permanent exposure to acts of violence that women have suffered in situations of conflict and/or post-conflict, considering that


these scenarios generate a generalized criminal climate that, together with the patriarchal models of certain cultures, enhance the attacks caused by machismo. The problems faced by women in wartime or post-conflict include the strong physical and material insecurity as the demobilization of soldiers increases the chances of groups of unemployed militias socialized in a culture of violence, which might pose a serious threat to women in both the public and private spheres. For all human beings, forced displacement leads to an unexpected change of life, to migration from the countryside to the city and deprivation of customs and traditions and, above all, of their lands. This imposed change of life is reflected in women being forced to acquire economic responsibilities that did not have before since her role as a housewife is changed to that of being a head of the family, which added to the fact that they suffer displacement to the city leads to many of them to fall into prostitution, delinquency, drug trafficking and many other illicit activities. The disappearance of the male figure in the midst of armed conflicts causes women to leave their passive position and to carry on their shoulders the reins of the home and the responsibility to defend and maintain their families, lands and / or possessions. On the other hand, and taking into account that the armed conflict endows the men who participate in them, women become a focus of sexual violence because those who exercise violence believe themselves to be owners of the lives of others and this is evident in the coercive behavior of women who accept slave behavior to minimize the risk of further aggression. In regions marked by armed conflict, women, especially young women, must comply with strict rules that fit their dressing codes and the public places they can visit, among other measures. Non-compliance with these standards entails torture, sexual violence, disappearance or murder. In these regions the presence of the state is minimal and its abandonment consolidates violent behaviors such as physical violence, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization, sexual harassment, forced domestic services or regulation of social life (Rico, 2014).


This is why women are seen as a spoils of war in which the daughter, wife or sister of the enemy is offered as a reward but also as a weapon because the vexations against them is a way to humiliate the enemy and strip him of his honor and dignity (Rico, 2014). The victims of the armed conflict silence their grievances for fear of being killed. In the words of Margarita Rosa Cadavid, "the threat of denunciation is the main cause of impunity". Thus, it is necessary to know the reasons and causes of women's silence in order to create a process of attention and reparation of this situation. For Margarita Rosa Cadavid, the main causes of silence are the fear of reprisals by the armed actors; violence against family and friends in the case of sexual violence; the feeling of guilt since some women tend to justify the behavior of men which shows a degree of absolute submission; the normalization of violence and late justice, but above all, the ignorance by women of their rights. The consequence of all the above is that the women are forced to support their families and both mourning and the search for professional support are relegated to the background by revictimizing it and leaving its right to justice due to the need to survive. In the political sphere, there is another reality for women, since politics, as it is defined by men, relegates women's communitarian actions to charitable, voluntary or social actions which distance them, once again, from the process leading to the political construction of the country. On the one hand, some of the new Constitutions do not guarantee women the right to vote or to be elected. Women often do not have access to the political structure they postulate such as elections. In the case of Somalia or Cambodia, women have represented only 5% of the candidates for the Constituent Assembly elections resulting from the peace process. On the other hand, many women identify this terrain as essentially male-dominated, and therefore do not vote or allow their male relatives to do it for them. To overcome these obstacles, the activities of local women's groups organizing civic education sessions are fundamental. Another mechanism to overcome these difficulties is quota systems, used as temporary measures to correct the generalized deficit of women's representation (Moura, 2005).


The great problems of the role of women in the public sphere are reflected in the Peace Process. In political life, women tend to have less representation and participation. That is, the interests, problems, difficulties and needs of women are not represented by the different actors involved in the process, which is closely related to the lack of participation of women as representatives. Although women's participation in political life has been encouraged in recent years, there is no gender equality in political parties or government organizations. Also, throughout the peace process, women have not been involved in negotiating groups for peacebuilding. Women, one of the most physically and sexually affected groups, are important agents of reconciliation in the peace process but they are not passive agents. On the contrary, women are mutually supportive to demand public recognition of these crimes committed during conflicts and to achieve the necessary justice. Local groups, particularly women's groups, deal with the hidden part of the conflict, trying to overcome trauma and psychological wounds caused by violence, and creating networks of solidarity and support for new groups resulting from conflict. These new categories include war-mutilated, former combatants, widows, raped women, orphans and others. In South Africa, People against Human Abuse (PAHA), founded in 1994 by a group of women, has supported countless victims and has developed dialogue mechanisms to try to reduce physical and psychological violence and increase trust and justice. In the former Yugoslavia, an Autonomous Women's Center Against Sexual Violence was created with the aim of analyzing the relationship between the militarization of society and domestic violence (Moura, 2005). According to Donny Meertens, a Professor at the Javeriana University in Bogota (Colombia), the armed conflict not only directly affects women as they are victims of sexual abuse but also affects "their way of life" due to forced displacement. Similarly, armed conflict strengthens patriarchal models imposed by armed actors in which women who were working outside the family nucleus were punished and humiliated (Meertens, 2014). Women occupy different spaces and roles in periods of conflict, but society does not allow them to live differently in times of peace or reconstruction. Initiatives or activities carried out by some groups of women during war are considered casual, and marginalized when the confrontation ends. That is, when politics becomes more structured and hierarchized (Meintjes, 2001).


The common pattern (or standardized model) of postwar around the world continues to be the re-creation of male domination with new forms, recovery and return to the stereotypes that legitimize patriarchy. Therefore the need for new agendas or possibilities for transformation offered by women during and after conflict need not to be ignored. Taking into account the analysis of the position of women in war and post-conflict processes, we have that in Africa, for instance, in June 2011, the Congolese army, in protest for the loss of rank of its Commander, attacked two villages, one of them Fizi and the other Walikale, and raped, in three days, 387 women and children. With events like this, it has been stated that in armed conflicts "it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier", as General Patrick Cammaert told the Security Council (DĂ­az). From historical data, it is clear that women's participation in peace processes is reduced to less than 3 percent of peace treaty signatories in recent decades and less than 8 percent of negotiating team members, such as reflected in the 2009 study of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. In the economic sphere, the reconstruction of a cracked and war-torn country is a major effort of all physical and productive infrastructures that are destroyed by the conflict. Therefore agriculture becomes the main means of survival for women who assume the role of home care during and after conflict. However, this approach brings yet another problem to women as they are denied the rights of inheritance and/or land ownership that could improve their chances of making a successful living out of this resource. Economic funds devoted to the econstruction of schools, hospitals, houses or roads directly affect women, since if they are not part of decision-making processes and gender perspectives are absent, women's needs are most likely to remain neglected. In areas of intense armed conflict and in which women take the initiative of caring for orphans, the sick and the elderly, providing psychological support to people with war traumas and seeking opportunities to improve themselves financially, make women exceptional players that deserve to participate in reconstruction efforts (El-Bushra). The important financial and technological support given to countries in the post-conflict period should then be motivated by the need and commitment to bring about changes, both political and economical, that strengthen the


peace process, but also that reduce and resolve discrimination against certain sectors that are likely to be minimized, including women. Women are presented with a huge amount of impediments in accessing the aid provided in the midst of post-conflict, on the one hand, the highly sexist society and, on the other hand, the great disinterest and will of those who control the resources and to reduce constraints (Sorensen 1998). These restrictions evidence the reality that women are underrepresented in all decision-making processes through ministries, local councils, and international NGOs that control the most important resources. In addition, the informality of many women's organizations and their limited contacts hinder their access to the funds and programs developed by international entities. Social sector budgets, which tend to sponsor jobs normally taken by vulnerable women, are the first to be cut back when the economy is limited thus excluding options for education, training and employment. Not only it is the problem of job cuts faced by vulnerable women but also the fact that they have to compete with soldiers when returning from the war for the same types of jobs and the results are usually always the same, i.e. women relegated to home and men being given access to the labor market (El-Bushra). As for agricultural communities, women are often unable to maintain their farms because of displacement, absence of labor or destruction of their crops. Not only the constraints on the labor force in the agricultural sphere reduce the possibilities for the development of women in the peace process but the laws of property and inheritance tend to guarantee property rights only for male heads of household. There is also the situation that ignorance of the administrative procedures by women lead them to give up their rights to reclaim their lands in order to (a) avoid getting involved in bureaucratic procedures or (b) to be threatened by criminal entities to wrest the land or (c) to find out that their lands have new owners. In this sense, it is also usual for women to reject formal work due to the responsibility of caring for children and other domestic chores (Baden, 1998).


In addition, the deteriorating health of women due to overwork under extreme conditions both at war and after war and the violence they might face during both events has serious repercussions on their ability to participate in the public and economic spheres. Women's organizations develop strategies in their attempt to access aid for reconstruction, since they can contact the main international players such as the World Bank to report on their current situation in the country and demand greater gender perspectives and opportunities to access to sources of fuding that are distributed in a most equal way across genders. These women's organizations can also identify key international actors to find out what strategies the OECD or the UN could adopt in these cases and to contribute to policies around post-conflict inclusion of women, the investments being made and the commitment they make to civil society in general (El-Bushra). As stated throughout this document, social conflicts have always been a constant in the history of States because they not only devastate people individually but entire societies, leaving material destruction and complex moral and psychological scars (Lopez, 2007). As mentioned before, women have always been seen in periods of conflict as a passive, repressed and ignored actor because there is the perception that war is carried out by men while women have to endure and survive through war by sometimes leaving their children in the hands of the armies (Lopez, 2007). In this way, we see that women not only suffer the risk of death by weapons, but their lives are disturbed in all the aspects as discussed previously, thus becoming one of the main victims (direct or indirect) of the armed conflict. However, it is through considering the sufferings of women as highlighted above that their role as agents of change, pacification, negotiation and construction of peace can be acknowledged and highlighted (Lugo, MuĂąoz, & Guerrero). For this reason, we consider necessary to emphasize the significance and value of the work carried out by these women, to enhance their achievements in order to make a change in conflict situations and especially in the processes of peace building. This is achieved through the family, responsible for taking it to a social area in which


they are not subject to discrimination because of their status as victims from a conflict in which they did not decide to participate. Within the requirements for women to stop being a victim and to become an agent of social, political and economic change, a series of political commitments should be given and facilitated, such as the strengthening of spaces that allow socialization among women. Women who decide to take part in the processes of justice should be guaranteed the no discrimination by any public or private institution or by any person from society. In addition, it is of vital importance to sensitize the public sectors with greater decisive capacity as to provide financial support to the institutions that benefit women in training programs that enable their empowerment and leadership to defend their rights and the construction of the beginning of new lives (Lugo, MuĂąoz, & Guerrero). Thus, we believe that for peace-building to take place, women, as full citizens, must be guaranteed a timely and secure process of truth, justice and reparation. This process must be effective and real with a gender perspective in which policies are designed based on the psychosocial, economic and cultural aspects that allow them to have a reparative grief and that provide them with full possibilities of rebuilding their lives making sure their rights in terms of health, housing, education and employment are guaranteed by the government (Rico, 2014). It is also necessary to promote awareness of human rights, so that women can defend their rights, as in the community in general, thereby pursuing the recognition and respect for their rights in the midst of society. Finally, it is understood that the programs aimed at peace building and the resolution of the different social conflicts derived from armed macro-conflicts require cross-cutting actions that promote the empowerment of women in the community in all areas, but fundamentally in decision-making, negotiations and reconciliation. Therefore, women should be considered as the main agents of peacebuilding, being one of the victims with the greatest damage caused by the conflict. This would place them as true protagonists of the reconstruction of their


identities, thus fostering the recovery of their lives and their near nucleus. Only in this way will peace be cemented on the solid foundation of inclusion, equity and respect. It is for this reason that the need for a new theoretical perspective looking into the experiences of women in societies torn by conflicts is defended here. This argument is supported by the fact that most reconstruction and post-conflict programs focus on human rights and human needs. Human rights, as a basis for reconstruction, guarantee justice, equality, pluralism and participation, taking into account the emphasis on the human rights of women and their active participation both in the enjoyment and in the execution of them. Thus, considering the four dimensions of the reconstruction model of the UN, the roles assumed by women in situations of armed conflict are, for example: The reconstruction of societies broken by conflict, disarmament and the demilitarization of society. In this context, the non-recognition of the role of women as combatants leads to the marginalization of their needs. The roles assumed by women in liberation movements and conflicts as in the case of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Eritrea or Guatemala have been shaped by a rhetoric of inclusion, equal rights and social justice, as an integral part of the struggle. However, in situations where women and girls have participated voluntarily or unintentionally in combats as sex slaves and information traffickers, among others, they also need assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration in the post-conflict process.

GUATEMALA, SALVADOR, IRLANDA DEL NORTE Y Ă FRICA. Guatemala After 36 years of open conflict in this country, democratic institutions and, most importantly, the social fabric are being rebuilt. However, the exclusion of the State is still palpable, as sharp poverty affects most households and the country's economic model makes the distribution of income inequitable.


Consequently, the Peace Accords signed by the Government of Guatemala and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) have taken into account the needs of change and evolution of the State, as well as the intention to modernize the country's economy and, to take into account indigenous peoples (Mendoza, 2001). In the case of women, the interest in addressing their marginal situation began in the 1980s, a convulsive period in which Guatemala was experiencing the process of repression of the internal armed conflict and in which censorship and spaces for citizen participation were minimal. These first groups had a discourse based on the struggle of women at the international level, beginning with the separation of the terms sex / gender and patriarchy, composed, mostly by women militants of leftist ideologies. These small groups were based on lived experiences rather than theoretical abstraction and dealt with topics such as sexuality, human rights and women's autonomy (Monzon, 2008) Thanks to all this, the women's movement managed to articulate itself in such a way that it came to obtain a formal structure of social movement that, in the peace negotiation stage, succeeded in having the demands of women implanted as commitments in the agreements of peace and as public policies in the implementation phase. To understand the process in which the Guatemalan women's movement became a political actor in the peace process, Leticia Bandelac Gordon explained the four stages of her consolidation: In the first phase, Guatemalan women lived in a moment of reflection facilitated by the First United Nations World Conference on Women in 1975, although, at that time the movement had not yet been consolidated, women did participate in social groups aimed to reshape the social organization in the rural and urban areas since the cruelty of the war and the conflict made the woman assimilate roles as the sustenance of the home without having a legal guarantee and with their fundamental rights being violated. Due to this new role of "female head of household" the woman was acquiring organizational capacity around issues such as social justice, equality or peace. In the second phase, the Women's Movement began with the political and economic restructuring of the country that coincides with the democratic transition and the opening of government to the hands of the civil power, so that the movement becomes a struggle for social justice and gender equality. The objective was no longer to seek only the


missing persons and the demilitarization of society, but also sought to improve living conditions for society in general. The third phase between 1994 and 1999 was fully influenced by the Fourth World Conference on Women, which promoted the participation of women in the peace process by proposing educational and legislative reforms for gender equality through forums on domestic violence and, above all, the rights of working women. Despite not having the necessary consolidation, the Women's Movement managed to bring to the Assembly of Civil Society the demands for the search for the common good and obtained enough visibility as to participate in the peace accords. In the mid-1990s, the Women's movement was growing, but it remained the union of small organizations separated from each other with some differences. The last phase came with the new millennium, in which violence and public insecurity make the peace accords difficult to implement, but at the governmental level, the Presidential Secretariat for Women was created to generate public policies in favor of women. With all this, the influence of the Women's Movement has been decreasing. However, women's organizations have been reproduced in rural areas, which means that the movement is actually taking new paths and living a new stage. Women in Guatemala demonstrate that their union, regardless of ethnic, class or origin , has achieved a unique discourse of social change and progress both during and after the armed conflict. This new concept of citizenship may be possible thanks to the women’s pressure and perseverance. But, with all of this, much work remains ahead because women are still seen as mothers, wifes and the economic support of their families. In order to solve this limited view of women, women's struggle and organizations must be given support, social recognition and the political approval of the State (Gordon, 2015).


El Salvador In 1992, the guerrilla forces of the Farabundo MartĂ­ National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the government of El Salvador put an end to the armed conflict by signing a peace agreement at Castillo de Chapultepec in Mexico. The women's movement in El Salvador was characterized, in part, by its absence before the signing of the peace, but the work of DoĂąa Tula Alvarenga, who managed to unite Salvadorean Liberation Forces (FPL), who were out of the country for political reasons, led her to form an international support network that linked with the Association of Women of El Salvador-AMES. She would also found the Fraternity of Salvadoran Women. Due to this decisive role, she had to face the macho oppositions of the FPL until they managed to dissolve both formations. However, the role of women, both in the war and in the transition process, was inevitable since high political leaders were women, but with all of this, attention to women in the peace process was very scarce. One of the biggest problems faced by women in the process of demilitarization was that, when they returned home, they were treated as pariahs because their relatives accused them of abandoning their parents and children, while the men were praised for their "heroic struggle" Before the war, women were more likely to work outside the home. However, at the end of the war, almost 95% of women were confined to private life and care for their children and households. That is why the first organizations of the postconflict were of women in their role of mothers who fought for their children in prison, for the wounded and the disappeared. But it would not be until 1992 when the FMLN left its status as a guerrilla movement and became a legal party, which would make reference to women and their rights, alluding that they could participate and be part of national affairs with the commitment to achieve equal rights for women and eliminate their marginalization and pressure. It was at this moment that a new women's movement was born, first made up of revolutionary-civilians and exguerillas, who would later be joined by women from all sectors who were fighting for democratization, since the role


of women had been almost void in signing the peace accords, but wanted to then exert pressure on political parties to generate rights platforms for women. With the birth of this movement, efforts were focalized towards achieving equality for both men and women (Navas, 2007).

North Ireland In the case of Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant women's groups decided to create a political party called the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC), which would open the doors for them to participate in the peace talks, in which they always tried to have equality between Republican and Unionist women. This party was formed with the intention of appearing to the elections and thus having more representation and being able to occupy a place in the peace negotiations table from the perspective and the necessities of the women. The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition would not survive in the long run, but ten years after the signing of the peace agreement, the government was formed on equal footing by nationalists and unionists (AriĂąo, 2010).

Africa – Somalia Considered to be a failed state, women in Somalia have had to endure the hardest tension in the conflict since they have had to assume responsibilities and roles at home to ensure the survival of their families. This, along with gender violence, is the main characteristic of war from the prism of women. During the armed conflict they have been raped, abducted and sexually enslaved. It is for this reason that Somali women have always been at the forefront of peacebuilding, organizing from the grassroots the foundations to overcome divisions and violence generated by clan politics, promoting reconciliation and forgiveness either collectively or individually.


Women as peace builders is a concept recognized by all Somali society since in Somali culture women represent peace and motherhood. The Academic Review of International Relations includes a series of measures that pacifist women have been using since 1991 to generate peace in their territories, one of which is taken to private life and then to a "cross-legged strike". Additional measures included writing poems by women and organizing massive and open prayer sessions for everyone to pray for the end of the war. In addition, during the peace talks, women reinforced their traditional gender identity by facilitating the transfer of the elderly; preparing food for the delegates of the talks and holding open talks with the different negotiating parties with whom they share links. When they find themselves in an absent state, women continue to carry out activities that generate peace such as health care, providing food, caring for pregnant women and orphans, and managing agricultural production so that food is not lacking. They also work with civil society and the media to try to raise public awareness of human rights, favor education and fight for equal access to services, educate for peace and promote women to be included in political decision-making (Gardner, 2007).

C. BARRIERS FOR RECONCILIATION According to the above, peacebuilding in a country is linked to different variables of diverse nature that need to be considered in order to address the real barriers or obstacles to reconciliation. The political, social, cultural and psychological factors that have a direct impact on the conflict and its maintenance for half a decade are the same ones that have to be revised to understand the great challenge of the country: reconciliation. The Royal Spanish Academy (Academia, 2001) defines reconciling as "returning to friendships, or attracting and agreeing disunited moods" so far, both individually and collectively. In light of this definition, two difficulties are considered: the age of the conflict that makes it difficult for citizens to remember the context without conflict and the culture of violence that reproduces and legitimates generation to generation.


However, it is necessary to clarify that reconciliation does not require the neglect of the acts committed. On the contrary, it is a question of remembering those acts without rancor, with the capacity to learn from the violent past as to not to repeat them. It is for this reason that education plays an essential role in social and psychological reconstruction, formal education, in public institutions but above all, in non-formal education and it is here that we must highlight socialization in the family and relevance of the role of women within such core. In addition to the role of women in reconciliation from the private sphere, mention should be made of the high levels of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence across the population that are central to the empathic and inclusive processes of reconciliation.

THE CULTURE OF VIOLENCE The culture of violence, which is widespread today in many parts of the world and specifically in a country that has lived during its last years in war, is one of the most important barriers to reconciliation. Cultural violence can be defined as an "ideology of violence" or as a "superstructure of violent systems". A series of standardized social attitudes and behaviors in which violence is a means to solve everyday situations. In many cases, these attitudes and behaviors are defended in political discourses, propaganda or unfair political campaigns, in "biased and intentional manipulation of ideas to successfully perpetrate widespread indoctrination" or "deformed information of mass media, customs, rites and institutional acts that can contribute to the direct dissemination of the "usefulness" of violence, thus promoting valid arguments and motives for violence or even war (JimĂŠnez-Bautista, 2012). Generation by generation these social schemes are transmitted and violence, as something common, is something permanent and even inevitable. Deaths, kidnappings, armed robberies, account adjustments, rapes, drug trafficking, family mistreatment, among others become normal facts that are repeated frequently in different parts of the country. In this context, the individual internalizes and reproduces these behaviors, causing violence to multiply day by day, thus deteriorating the values or principles of coexistence.


This is why addressing the process of reconciliation requires time and social commitment. Reconciliation is not achieved from one day to the next. It is a phase that entails a significant investment of time. However, during this process, action plans must be drawn up on which cultural activities can be developed and the promotion of education for peace in the regions affected is widespread. These will permeate the integration of citizenship through own life experiences, knowledge, problems or ideas that allow a clearer vision for the construction of a new form of interaction in the community. In this sense, the inclusion of gender perspectives and the promotion of women's empowerment can be decisive factors for reconciliation, since the relevance of the role of women in the different areas in which they are developed is fundamental for advancing the Peace building. Another important aspect is the family because it is the nucleus of education par excellence, since a family united and not disintegrated is the example of life for the sons and daughters who are part of it. However, it is important to emphasize the great role that mothers play in not reproducing violent social patterns and fostering essential values such as tolerance, respect and forgiveness.

EDUCATION FOR PEACE Consequently, during the reconstruction of a society, it is necessary to address the issue of education for peace, which will only be possible through the inclusion of a set of values and principles of tolerance, respect and equity. While it is true that the purpose of the strategies framed in the peace processes is to establish a durable peace that allows the development of the communities, it is no less that, the basic premise for this is to face each and every one of them. In this context, it is important to highlight the work carried out by the organization ‘Reconciliation Colombia’ to "discover reconciliation initiatives that have taken place in these years of armed conflict between individuals or communities, to put them in common, to learn from them and to plan others into the future"(Can Colombia reconcile?). That is, they start from real cases that serve as models for projecting future strategies. One such case is that of César Montealegre, an entrepreneur from Caquetá, who was abducted by the FARC in 1999 and, shortly after his release, unknowingly hired Luis Moreno, a former guerrilla, who, a year later, confessed to him to have been


leader of the front that kidnapped him. Luis has been working with him for more than eight years as his trusted man. In this regard, CĂŠsar highlights the importance of non-stigmatization of demobilized people and the fact that peace must start from the nearest nucleus (G. 2014). This life history reveals a reality faced by those peoples affected by the war, and that in turn, serves as a guideline towards the realization of global and inclusive solutions that allow the participation in the political power, as a reinforcement to the recovery of the democracy through justice, truth and reparation. In this phase of reconciliation, it is important to consider that the most vulnerable people to conflict are women and children. But it is also necessary to take into account the different cultures, ethnic groups, races and tribes that may be at risk of social exclusion as a consequence of these conflicts. In this sense, it is possible to make a call to break the cultural barriers, in order to take into account their contributions in post-conflict, addressing their needs and their situations for the design and implementation of programs adapted to their protection and inclusion in the socio-cultural field of the affected group. It is therefore important to treat disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), which involves (1) the collection, control and disposal of weapons and ammunition in the hands of combatants and the civilian population related to the conflict, (2) the official dischargement of active combatants of all illegal armed groups and (3) the reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life (UN, 2016). Special political, social and economic attention should be given through this whole process to women involved in the conflict as to avoid the negative impacts that the DDR might have on them and thus to contribute to the consolidation of the peace process. Special attention should also be given to those women who after going through the DDR process become leaders and spokespeople within their communities. They should be given the opportunity to join civil life and have proper social interactions as to compensate for the damage somehow generated by their participation in the war. Therefore, we believe that the current peace process is yet another opportunity for substantial changes in the history of these women and their participation in peacebuilding, aimed at reshaping the society and trying to eliminate the negative imaginary that society might have about them. In short, in times of post-conflict and peace processes are these same women who lead the course and development of social transformations representing the feminine gender and working for equality and social justice.


In summary, we could say that psychosocial work is essential, but even more important is to do it more in depth, that is to say, through the integration of the various population groups, especially those with greater protagonism in the conflict and the peace process, such as the female collective.

D. PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN AS POLITICAL SUBJECTS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PEACE

Although much progress has been made in Colombia since the last century where the population believed that women's employment compromised women's morals, a country where until the mid-1950s there was a prohibition on women to intervene in the electoral process, historically excluded from the exercise of power. This reasoning has been displaced by the demand for effective action in decision making by what is nowadays the image of the woman that intervenes in politics and government, their protagonism has grown in the last years but is still very far from the expectations (Velez, 1993), since they face a multiplicity of difficulties to accede to the position of election and to engage in politics, presenting a great challenge for democracy since women represent about 52% of the population in the country yet do not exceed 20% of positions of popular election, producing a great inequality. As a result of this, Colombia has acquired international commitments in this area that are continually remembered by women's suffrage advocates, establishing an international legal framework that directs action at the internal level with regard to the promotion of gender in participation politics. From 1946 to 1956, the United Nations (UN) has insisted on the need to recognise the political rights of women throughout the world. It recommends that governments grant women the same political rights as men, with which women are allowed access public offices and international representations. In addition to these efforts, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was established in 1979, as the subsequent World Conferences of Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995) marked the way forward (Tula, 2015). Emphasizing the obligation of States to ensure equality in the political sphere. It is for this reason that the Colombian State itself and its national organs have urged the establishment of norms and laws for the empowerment of women from the political sphere. One of the legislative acts that has generated one of


the major advances for the promotion of political participation of women in the country was given in 2011 with the political reform to law 1475, which seeks to adopt new measures such as regulations on the organization of political parties and movements in Colombia, actions aimed at encouraging the participation of women in electoral processes, as a quota system is established that obliges parties and political movements to include women in at least 30% of their list of candidates; financial incentives are given for organizations that achieve the election of women. This, in addition to establishing a mandate that allocates a percentage of state resources to the political training of women, youth and ethnic groups. (Congress of Colombia, 2011). The continuing gap in gender inequality in politics is evident, but it should be noted that the implementation of mechanisms such as these have led to changes such as in 2007, when 86.8% of candidate lists did not include a minimum of 30% of women, in 2011, 36.3% of lists had female candidates between 30 and 33.3%, thus meeting the minimum percentage required by law, and 7% of the lists submitted exceeded this threshold, incorporating women in 50% or more of their lists. Furthermore, the total number of women elected for the period 2014-2018, increased from 37 (14%) in 2010 to 52 (19.4%) in 2014 (Tula, 2015). In fact, the change is becoming more and more necessary and obvious, the main challenge that remains in force in our society, regarding the inequality between men and women, is wage discrimination that is always disadvantageous for the latter. Furthermore, it is clear that normative changes do not generate radical transformations in the country, due to the other factors that increase the gap as it is the rooted macho culture in a society that perpetuates exclusion and low support for the female population. In this sense, electoral systems should be sought to facilitate the participation of women, to urge a balance in governmental bodies and committees, and to adopt positive measures at all levels of politics and to promote democracy. In addition, there are other obstacles that occur in Colombia that can be classified into three groups: (i) the initial obstacles to women's lack of skills, knowledge and opportunities to enter the political game on an equal footing with men; (ii) entry barriers imposed by gender stereotypes that place women outside the world of the public sphere; iii) the obstacles of permanence that women find once they enter the political arena and have to do with the marked chauvinistic nature of political work in Colombia (Bernal, 2006)


Obstacles that are fought daily through organizations such as the UN, UNDP, La Casa de la Mujer and other organizations. It is necessary for the empowerment of women to be a reality and, through their leadership and participation in local, national and international politics, to play a leading role in social change and evolution. Only in this way will priority themes such as peacebuilding, gender policies, governance formation and equality be inclusive, participatory and representative. Women, by overcoming the main barriers in the political sphere, will be able to make visible the gender issues that have been discussed throughout this document and thus correct injustices and inequalities and demonstrate the definitive and decisive role that women have in the construction of a better society. Their participation should not be seen as a temporary event but as an indispensable and continuous step to achieve success and generate real changes in the long-term. This does not neglect the approach that must be taken towards rural women and other affected populations, as there is a need to offer them tools and to take advantage of the opportunity to accept them as new political subjects, so that they have true empowerment and become leaders of their populations and communities, in municipalities, departments and national entities, and thus, generate a contribution in the reconstruction of the social fabric, the promotion of human rights and a culture of peace.

WORK FROM THE COMMUNITY: A DAY OF REFLECTION The International Miraism Association and the Casa de la Mujer consolidated a collaboration based on their trajectory and commitment in working for peace. This work of cooperation between these two entities, subsidized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, seeks to strengthen the work of women as political subjects in the construction of peace in Colombia, an important moment for a country immersed for decades in the violence of arms. One of the actions of this process of joint work for peace has been the generation of a scenario of dialogue with women leaders and women victims to identify guidelines and strategies that contribute to the construction of peace.


On the 17th November 2016, an event was held to reflect on Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding. This space, which was attended by 72 women leaders of organizational processes in Cundinamarca and different locations in Bogotá (Colombia=, as well as victims, consisted of three parts, the first being a space for discussion with women over four thematic areas: a) Protection of Human Rights Defenders; B) Political participation of women in peacebuilding processes; C) Empowerment - Leadership of women in the peacebuilding process; and, D) Essential aspects of the Agreement on the rights of women. The spaces for dialogue were facilitated by professionals from the Casa de la Mujer and the International Miraism Association. The second part consisted of a discussion among women coordinators and rapporteurs within groups and the preparation of a statement. This statement was read by the women's delegate Claudia Liliana Castañeda, before a panel of experts in the third part of the event. The third and last part consisted of a exchange between invited panelists. The women opened this third part with the reading of their pronouncement, thus motivating the panel discussion. The panel was attended by: Dr. Gloria Stella Díaz Ortiz, President of the Women's Bench and member of the Political movement MIRA, Silvia Arias, Coordinator of the Women's Citizenship Program for Peace, Justice and Development of UN Women in Colombia, Sergio Cuervo, delegate of the Presidential Ministry for Women's Equality, Catalina Villa Rosas: Advisor to the Women's Secretariat of the District of Bogotá and Olga Amparo Sánchez Gómez Colombian researcher, feminist, pacifist and director of Casa de la Mujer. This event collected a series of reflections made by the speakers: Gloria Stella Díaz, President of the Women's Bench and member of the Political Movement MIRA a movement recognized before UN Women as one of the most equitable. The country is preparing to build peace and not for peace in itself. The differentiation made by Diaz is of paramount importance, as it involves all citizens in a process of participation and correction of violent behavior, avoiding the expectations of an immediate peace without the effort and contribution of all.


According to Diaz, the country must focus on the conditions of exclusion, more specifically, on non-political participation in an equitable way; a situation that has led to intensify inequality. In this regard, it is necessary to overcome all such existing paradigms as those mentioned in previous sections of this document. From her own experience, Diaz commented on the progress made in the Congress of the Republic of Colombia stating that: "great were the battles that occurred at the Congress with a Women's Bench that managed to detach itself from political colors and particular interests in order to work on the issue of women and gender and, as a consequence, in 2006, the Women's Congress was created where women who wanted to be protagonists in the protection of women's rights were found. That bench achieved something historic, the creation of the legal commission for the equality of women. This union and teamwork has allowed taking forward projects and initiatives that are marking history and particulary laws. " In this regard, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary work, which allows a greater capacity of analysis from different ideological approaches. Important legislative advances have been made, but these regulations have little effectiveness because of the delay by the competent authorities to provide the necessary tools for their implementation. On the other hand, some of these rules may be ineffective since there is no body or entity to enforce them. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen these laws and generate actions that ensure inclusiveness so that women's political participation can be truly effective. In this regard, she reflects on the importance of women's political participation in the peacebuilding process, highlighting the responsibility of women who assume a political role as they should defend the rights of women at the moment of assuming a public service "because more laws, alerts and speeches are of no use if the women who reach corporations and public offices do not defend gender, a tragic reality that the country is experiencing today", emphasizing the importance of not promoting instrumentalization of women or the gender approach, remembering their needs, contributions and interests only in conjunctural moments. Silvia Arias, Representative of UN Women in Colombia: The importance of the participation of the international community, both States and Organizations, in the support and strengthening of women in peacebuilding, is supported by the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000 and associated resolutions. These, among other international mechanisms for the protection of women's rights,


have been making efforts only achieved by the advocacy and mobilization of women at the international level and is a call to the States of the world and the United Nations to raise our level of commitment to the recognition, support and encouragement of the role of women in peacebuilding. This role is not only about advancing the mechanisms of protection of women and their rights in the contexts of armed conflict, but also about women's political authorship, the place of women on the big agendas which decide the direction of society and in these cases, the course and content of peace. Just as Colombia has challenges in terms of parity, representation and promotion of gender initiatives on the highest priority agenda, something similar happens in the United Nations. Efforts have been made to ensure that these same issues have a high priority on the agenda, but there are still important elements of the gap and challenges. For this reason, last year, the Secretary-General of the UN conducted a comprehensive study from which the following conclusions were obtained. 1. All agencies of the United Nations have been called upon to adopt structural changes in order to capitalize on their available resources for women, for peace and security, to ensure that the whole system is coherent and coordinated to take gender equality and the empowerment of women at the core of their work in all areas. This is of paramount importance because it is up to the international community to make concrete, feasible and achievable commitments to carry out processes for women's empowerment. 2. Adequate financing for the women's agenda on peace and security, is mentioned because it is also an element that increases the gap experienced by States, the need for financing organizations and civil society to develop processes for the protection of rights and peacebuilding supported by the United Nations. For the United Nations, it is clear that donor countries' projects and programs must have at least 15% of their budget earmarked only for gender equality and the empowerment of women. 3. A third message has to do with the elements of civil society and women's recommendations to the United Nations, calling for action so that the major changes we are going through be understood in the context of women’s needs and concerns in specific situations of conflict, which would result in the UN taking the initiative to halt the process of militarization that began in 2001 around the world and is increasingly acquiring more worrying visions. In addition, the end to the normalization of violence against women at local, national and international levels and, finally, the


expansion of support for the network of women constructors and peacekeepers to come to the forefront of the local agenda. This is how the commitment of the United Nations, Women and Peacebuilding in Colombia seeks to prioritize areas of work that contribute to highlight the role of women in peacebuilding, issues related to conflict resolution, post-conflict planning and post-conflict funding. Financing agendas for the State's economic recovery "since women in times of crisis have always been 'the cushion of the crisis', how do we avoid this and make them seen as a more relevant actor in societies and communities?" Understanding that we want to increase the presence of women in formal and informal peace negotiations. A role that women have in active and peaceful solutions of conflicts and also in their prevention. In this regard, horizons of opportunities appear from what was agreed in point 6 of the agreement between the State and the FARC-EP on implementation, endorsement and verification, which go hand in hand with the accompanying verification or follow-up done by the international community Thus, it is very important that women's organizations find ways of working together with these mechanisms so that this is one of the scenarios through which the international community is even more committed to the rights of women. The fact that the gender approach and the principle of equality and non-discrimination are established as a guiding principle of what should be in the implementation, endorsement and verification of peace agreements is already a point from which to begin to discuss politics, actively with the international community, to strengthen women in their role of overseers; as well as reinforce their participation in the agendas. Finally, it reminds us of the experiences of previous agreements mentioning that "when women participate in the implementation of agreements, the probability of success of these agreements increases between 15 and 30%. A condition for the success of peace is for women to be part of the peace process behind it. " Sergio Cuervo, Representative of the Presidential Counseling for the Equity of the Woman "Implementation will not be sustainable and we will not be able to move forward if we do not give this support to women at the territorial and institutional level." The Presidential Counseling for the Equity of the Woman (CPEM) seeks to advance and reduce rural gaps and the negative discrimination that exists in some way or another against women's organizations, through a lack of opportunities in political participation.


The implementation of the agreement is an opportunity to make effective the gender approach, a process that must begin from all local and social scenarios that rely on the impact of international organizations, which in other words, also refers to the construction of peace and promoting equal opportunities in the territory through specific actions and projects on educational issues, sexual reproduction, among others. The fact that the agreement has a gender subcommittee demonstrates that it is possible for the impact of women's organizations to be reflected in positive aspects of public policy. The main points in the final agreement: • Access and formalization of rural property must be on equal terms between men and women, since they are at a disadvantage when legalizing land. • Guarantees of economic and social rights for women in the rural sector as they suffer a differential impact, not only in areas of sexual violence but also in access to goods and services provided by the State. • Promotion of the participation of women denoting the need to organize and strengthen themselves by playing a role as watchers and participants in the implementation process of the agreement. • Access to justice and guarantees of non-repetition, a key element is that sexual violence is not a crime that is indultable or amnestible. Catalina Villarrosas, Representative of the Women's District Secretary Peace, both from the Women's District Secretariat (SDM) and from the 1991 Political Constitution Article 22, is seen as a right and an end of the State and, for this reason, is mandatory. Therefore, the goal is to achieve peaceful solutions to avoid war. For the SDM, access to the right to peace in a tangible way is only possible when the other 7 rights - implemented by this entity in its plan for equal opportunities - are achieved: 1. Decent work 2. Education 3. Political participation and representation 4. Full health 5. Dignified living 6. Non-sexist communication and a culture


of non-sexism 7. A life free from violence. In this way, peace is a process in which women must have a predominant role and, as women victims, be at the center of the agreement, calling the State as a guarantor of rights so that they can access them in a differential way. This implies the empowerment of women in the contribution of that peace settlement. The key points which the Secretariat focuses on from the challenges that arise in the context of the conflict at the macro level are: • The module of citizenship for peace teaches women that everyday things can be taken much further to make a real impact on the processes of territorialisation and implementation of peace agreements. • Activate the route of prevention and protection for leaders because they suffer high levels of vulnerability of violence within the city. • Address the whole issue of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, where it is necessary to speak of the right to peace and not only the right of victims. A DDR program is proposed for women who decide to leave the illegal armed groups and, in this way, eliminate the image of women combatants, because even when they arrive at the localities as ex-combatants they suffer rejection. At the more local level, projects are managed such as: 1. A school of political participation with a focus on peace. 2. Shelters specifically for women victims of armed conflict 3. Houses of equal opportunity that provide 'psychojuridical' attention for women. 4. Role-playing games to get away from stereotypes. All of this is done to support the peacebuilding process. Olga Amparo Sánchez, Corporación Casa De La Mujer Three fundamental aspects are highlighted in the context of the country, the agreements and the construction of democracy and peace. • Building a common agenda for women that represents a diversity of races, religions and beliefs.


• These agreements are a window of opportunity to expand democracy and solve ancestral problems that the country has regarding issues of inequality and discrimination. The agreement is the initial phase to revitalize democracy and seek peace. • It is necessary to change practices and prejudices to find a healthy coexistence in which peace can be built. "We do not want to be negotiated, but negotiators" (II National Summit of Women and Peace, 2016) The moment of exchange opened up an interesting debate on the commitments of the administrations to the agendas of women, as well as the challenges that are imposed with the new context in the construction of peace. One of the conclusions is the importance of giving continuity to women's discussion scenarios and monitoring both their conditions and compliance with their rights in the text of the agreement. Another of the conclusions is the necessary commitment that is required among the organizations to continue giving impetus to this work among women. The women's statement is attached, which will be distributed on social networks, to political representatives and will also be the basis of other actions.

CONCLUSIONS The search for gender equality is a central element for the construction and sustainability of peace, considering the relevance for societies that each member maximizes the contributions it makes to the community. It is for this reason that important advances have been made towards gender equality from international organizations, public administrations and various social agents.


In this sense, promoting the human rights of women and their effective participation in the public sphere is fundamental for today's societies. The empowerment of women is the optimal complement for democracy, coexistence with respect and foundation of new socio-cultural paradigms free of violence and discrimination. Having said this, it is necessary to guarantee the real capacity of women to enjoy their rights and in turn contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all, in order to overcome the barriers that still exist in economic, social, political and cultural life. These barriers can be dismantled through special public policies and their proper implementation from the competent authorities. The role of women in peace processes is important as well as achieving a certain level of equality in the area of social, political, economic and cultural rights in order to restore trust in the community and to establish a conflict resolution process that provides sustainable and inclusive solutions. It is common for women to be absent from the peace process, leading to a series of shortcomings such as the lack of information about their needs and priorities, the lack of women mediators in the community and less sensitivity to gender issues (such as sexual violence) in the agreements reached in the process. Based on the above, it is considered a priority to promote the incorporation of women's talents, skills, practices and efforts into international actions and public policies, demanding high-level support and inclusive policies in favor of gender equality and human rights with the aim of guaranteeing a sufficient participation of women in decision-making processes. Gender equity is a major element for the defense and promotion of human rights as embodied in many treaties, conventions, rules and regulations. Beyond the legal and conceptual framework, the achievement of this equality depends on the commitment of public figures and also on the promotion of a culture of equality in companies, schools, higher education spaces, etc. The effective inclusion of women in all areas is a task for all, which will allow us to promote human development, the construction of sustainable societies and the cultural basis for coexistence with respect and equity.


APPENDIX APPENDIX I. Statement made by La Casa de la Mujer in the framework of the event: Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding. Bogotรก, D.C., 17th November 2016 The women leaders of organizational processes in Bogotรก and Cundinamarca, who have met to discuss peacebuilding and their role as subjects of rights in the new context facing the country, have reached the following conclusions based on different experiences and knowledge shared in their exchange. Women are recognized as fundamental subjects and negotiators for the construction of peace in Colombia. In their political condition, they emphasize their historical contribution to the moment of the consolidation of the Agreement


and the advances of Colombian society in the recognition of rights. It also vindicates its demand for a society that respects and guarantees its right to have an authentic life that accounts for its vision of the world. While there is progress in the recognition of rights, protection mechanisms against violence, mechanisms of participation, more spaces and more women involved in the social and political sphere, there are still barriers to be overcome in a context of peacebuilding. Among these barriers is insufficient access to education, weak education in values, insufficient dissemination of laws and rights, family disintegration, little protection and promotion of women's autonomy, persistence of social prejudices against women. There is an importance of overcoming the aforementioned barriers in the face of progress in a society composed of men and women that should be living in conditions of equality in communities, families, work spaces and the cultural life of the country. Women have given the country knowledge, work, suffering and courage. Aware that their participation in peacebuilding will bring about an awakening to the social conscience and a positive impulse for women's leadership that leads the country to real equality of rights and better networks of social support, we provide an agenda for advances towards a just, safe and inclusive society for all. We consider that, as women, we should strive more to strengthen organizational processes and participation. For this, it is essential to: ➢ Understand the Agreement and its implementation mechanisms ➢ Strengthen organizational processes ➢ Strengthen women’s leadership with greater training and with a collective and ethical practice in the public space by transmitting to other women their practice, knowledge and experience. It is essential to require from the State: ➢ Greater economic resources to be able to work with communities. This includes, but is not limited to, subsidized meeting spaces in community centers. ➢ Pedagogical diffusion of the Agreement


➢ Access to formal educational programs, enhancing the skills and abilities of each leader with an emphasis on adolescents and adults. ➢ Training teachers to strengthen principles and values of peaceful coexistence ➢ Education for social and political participation ➢ Destination of resources to programs to recover skills and abilities of victims of violence ➢ Dissemination of laws and rights ➢ Programs to transform social valuations against women ➢ Guarantee information through the development of different pedagogical models to reach diverse populations directed to a socio-political cultural and economic level ➢ Protection of women entering decision-making spaces, as well as those who defend human rights. The voice of women is the expression of their commitment. It is also the expression of their impulse to not renounce in their participation as peace builders in Colombia.

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