A Colombian court has granted victim status to a former female fighter of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This marks a pivotal win in a groundbreaking case for victims of sexual and reproductive violence in the country’s conflict. The case had the support of Trust grantee Women’s Link Worldwide.
Helena (not her real name), was forcibly recruited as a teenager by the guerrilla group the (FARC) during the armed conflict in Colombia. More than 10 years later, she still suffers physical and psychological consequences. Women’s Link accompanied Helena in her efforts to get justice, at the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and this week to the Colombian Constitutional Court. After 11 years of silence, last week Helena told the judges how she was forced to take contraceptives and to have an abortion in inhumane conditions, a widespread and systematic practice undertaken by the FARC.
The crime of forced abortion in conflict is commonplace for young women such as Helena. By supporting her to tell her story and fight for access to justice and reparation Women’s Link Worldwide are actively breaking the tradition of silence for such in the conflict.
The report which Women’s Link submitted to the JEP was the first ever to document violations of the reproductive rights of women and girls within the FARC guerrilla groups. This is an opportunity to set an important international precedent about these often-invisible human rights violations. In a groundbreaking case, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled this week that Helena should be considered a victim of the conflict, which means she can now access essential physical and psychological healthcare and other forms of reparation. This decision sets an important precedent for the many other women and girls who were also victims of sexual and reproductive violence while with armed groups.
Click the link below to read more about the case.
Return to grantee stories