Will Gustavo Petro live up to his promises to Colombia’s women? | Women’s Rights News


Bogota, Colombia – Colombian girls’s rights activist Carmen Garcia has excessive hopes for her newly elected president, Gustavo Petro.

“I’ve no phrases to elucidate how excited I’m. For the primary time, our nation has made a change. For the primary time, girls are going to be heard. For the primary time, we ladies who’re victims of the armed battle are going to cease struggling on this [war],” she informed Al Jazeera.

Petro, a former M-19 insurgent and the primary left-wing candidate to win the presidency, made a number of guarantees to feminine voters throughout his marketing campaign: to recognise unpaid home labour, shield them from violence, and enact rural and land reforms to present girls higher access to possession.

His working mate, Francia Marquez, a former activist and single mom will turn into the nation’s first Afro-Colombian vice chairman when the 2 take workplace in August.

Garcia lives in Catatumbo, a northern area alongside Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the place she and different girls in battle areas have confronted gender-based threats and activists have confronted hurt and even dying.

Though the Authorities of Colombia signed a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016, the nation has seen an uptick in violence as different armed teams fill energy vacuums left by the FARC rebels.

Carmen Garcia
Carmen García wept when she came upon that Petro and Marquez had received the elections [Julia Zulver/Al Jazeera]

“In [Catatumbo], we as girls are being victimised day-after-day,” Garcia informed Al Jazeera. Femicides, sexual violence, and threats towards girls by armed teams have elevated since 2021, forcing many ladies to flee to different elements of the nation, she mentioned.

“Inaction by the Colombian state has put girls in weak positions,” she mentioned.

Armed teams have additionally engaged in human trafficking, primarily focusing on refugee girls and ladies from Venezuela, she mentioned, echoing stories by the United Nations and different rights teams.

To deal with these points, Petro and Marquez have promised to uphold the nation’s peace accord with the FARC and to speak with one other insurgent group, the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN).

Their unprecedented marketing campaign agenda additionally focuses on challenges girls face on account of the armed battle.

“That is the primary presidential marketing campaign that has a platform – often called a feminist platform – that tries to place girls’s points at its core,” mentioned Gimena Sanchez, Colombia Director on the Washington Workplace on Latin America (WOLA).

Petro has additionally mentioned his authorities will work to reopen dialogue with Venezuela, “which is totally wanted for ladies all alongside the border between Colombia and Venezuela the place a number of unlawful teams are working rampantly”, Sanchez mentioned.

‘They’d kill us’

About 1,930km (1,200 miles) southwest of Catatumbo in Colombia’s Cauca division, Deicy Patricia Carabali outlined the hazards she has confronted as a human rights activist and group chief.

“My identify appeared [in a death threat authored by armed groups] – together with these of different girls leaders – during which they mentioned they’d kill us,” Carabali mentioned. “They write all of the horrible issues they may do to us, and that is paralysing. It’s scary, and the federal government doesn’t reply, nor do native entities.”

Women’s rights activist Deicy Patricia Carabalí.
Deicy Patricia Carabalí, a girls’s rights activist and group chief from the Buenos Aires municipality in Cauca, Colombia, has acquired quite a few threats towards her life by armed teams [Kiran Stallone/Al Jazeera]

Girls characterize a disproportionate majority of leaders within the Cauca area, WOLA’s Sanchez mentioned.

“Over the previous twenty years we’ve got seen an actual shift in Cauca by way of social management. Beforehand a lot of the management was male, however as males began getting killed or an excessive amount of strain was placed on them, girls started to tackle a extra public-facing management profile,” Sanchez mentioned.

However with the upper public profile, girls leaders now additionally face elevated violence.

To raised shield girls leaders, Sanchez says Petro has mentioned he’ll “reprioritise and advance the peace accord, and inside that strengthen the efforts to dismantle unlawful armed teams”.

“That is one thing that’s completely wanted to get at perpetrators who’re after social leaders basically, however particularly girls,” she mentioned.

Petro has additionally promised to guage and reform Colombia’s present nationwide safety system for leaders in danger, which, though spectacular on paper, “in actuality features very badly and haphazardly”, Sanchez mentioned.

‘Open many doorways’

Rosi Perez lives just a few cities away from Carabali. Perez mentioned she has confronted a number of assassination makes an attempt linked to her work as an advocate for victims of conflict-related sexual violence in Cauca.

She wish to see the Petro-Marquez authorities put an finish to the threats.

“We hope that alternatives will open up for us, and that [the new government will] shut the gaps attributable to the patriarchy, slavery, and racism that we proceed to reside in Cauca,” she informed Al Jazeera.

Perez additionally hopes Marquez will “open many doorways for the Black inhabitants”.

Rosi Perez
Rosi Perez is a Consultant for Victims within the Cauca division. Specifically, her activism has centered on advocating for the rights of victims of conflict-related sexual violence [Kiran Stallone/Al Jazeera]

Carabali mentioned she likes the vice president-elect as a result of Marquez understands what it means to be a girl chief in a battle zone. Marquez organised a bunch of girls in protest towards unlawful gold mining and narrowly survived assaults by armed teams.

“Francia [Marquez] represents us. She, like me, and like many different girls, was a sufferer of violence. She understands the state of affairs as a result of she lived it,” Carabali mentioned.

“That’s why when she talks concerning the wars we’re experiencing within the territories – she does so as a result of she is aware of about them. Not as a result of somebody informed her about them, however as a result of she skilled them.”

Carabali mentioned she supported Petro and Marquez. “Their at first dedication is to peace, and that’s what we would like,” she mentioned.

She mentioned she didn’t anticipate outcomes for herself or different rural girls instantly.

“We all know that it isn’t really easy in a rustic that has been badly ruled for 200 years. It’s not as if as quickly as Petro arrives all the things will change. … however a minimum of they may have the facility to hear and assist remodel,” Carabali mentioned.

Finally, she hopes that being a group chief and “defending our territory doesn’t value us our lives”.

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