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Colombia

Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia

Citation:

Giraldo, Saridalia. 2012. “Demobilized Women Combatants: Lessons from Colombia.” Paper presented at the Thinking Gender Conference, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Los Angeles, February 3.

Author: Saridalia Giraldo

Abstract:

In Colombia, a country with one of the longest civil wars in the world, women combatants return to civil society in the midst of ongoing tension. In this transition, women suffer triple difficulties: the reaction of their home communities; hostility from armed illegal groups still engaged in conflict, and disregarding from the government itself. What accounts for these obstacles? First, in a patriarchal society such as Colombia, demobilized women face the denigration of their community which views women’s participation in armed conflict as an infringement on traditional female roles. Second, in the midst of continued conflict, demobilized women are also in danger of being rerecruited, tortured, killed or displaced from their home towns by their former peers in combat who perceive them as traitors, or by active criminal groups who consider them as enemies. Third, public policy designed to demobilize and reintegrate combatants gives little attention to women´s special needs as victims of gender violence. Recognizing that women and their needs remain invisible, this paper proposes that formal and informal post-conflict measures in Colombia must be gendersensitized in order to effectively reintegrate women and men into civilian life.
 

Keywords: women combatants, demobilization, reintegration, DDR, peace-building, Colombia, civil war, guerrillas, FARC, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation

Citation:

Avoine, Priscyll Anctil, and Rachel Tillman. 2015. “Demobilized Women in Colombia: Embodiment, Performativity and Social Reconciliation.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 216–31. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Authors: Priscyll Anctil Avoine, Rachel Tillman

Abstract:

Colombia has been divided by armed conflict for over half a century. While still confronting multiple forms of violence, since the beginning of the peace talks in 2012 public attention in Colombia has shifted to social reconciliation. In June 2014, Colombians re-elected Juan Manuel Santos as president, his campaign having made peace the centre of attention. The peace negotiations in Havana have been widely recognized as promising by the national and international community, and an agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP)1 is closer than ever. Women have been considerably marginalized in this peace process, however, especially those who played an active role in the armed conflict. These women experience a double alienation: not only has their participation in the perpetration of violence been largely invisible, but this failure to recognize their presence in the conflict means that they are also being overlooked in the peace-building process. Furthermore, their non-traditional performance of their own gender will make it very difficult for them as women to carve out a place in a post-conflict society. (Abstract from Springer)

Annotation:

"This chapter draws on Judith Butler’s work on gender performativity to articulate a framework of analysis for understanding the possible role of demobilized women in the Colombian peace process. We analyze from the perspective of embodied gender performativity a bibliography of narrative accounts of demobilized women in various regions of Colombia gathered by the Centro National de Memoria Histórica. We also conducted semi-structured interviews of key actors within the demobilization process, specifically with people who have had direct and sustained contact with women ex-combatants. Although these sources are not necessarily statistically representative of the wide range of women involved in combat in Colombia, they nonetheless allow us to build a preliminary panorama of the relationship between gender performativity and the lives of women combatants before, during and after the conflict" (Avoine & Tillman, 2015, p. 216-17). 
 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2015

Disarming, Demobilising and Reintegrating Whom? Accounting for Diversity Among Ex-Combatants in Colombian DDR

Citation:

Schöb, Mia. 2016. “Disarming, Demobilising and Reintegrating Whom? Accounting for Diversity Among Ex-Combatants in Colombian DDR.” Peace, Conflict & Development: An Interdisciplinary Journal, no. 22: 117–78.
 

Author: Mia Schöb

Abstract:

This paper contributes to understanding how the Colombian Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process accounts for a highly diverse ex-combatant population, whose composition will become even more diverse following the prospective peace agreement with the FARC. Analysing Colombian DDR discourse and practices through a gender and diversity-sensitive securitisation lens, I enquire how policymakers, academics, and practitioners understand diversity among ex-combatants, and how this understanding translates into reintegration practices. The analysis unpacks general de securitisation of all ex-combatants, however with different discursive logics along the lines of diversity. Revealing a nuanced strategy of male desecuritisation in Colombian DDR discourse, the findings contrast with previous studies on gender and DDR. At the same time, this work demonstrates the added value of a more holistic approach to diversity for understanding patterns of inclusion and exclusion in Colombian DDR. In a more policy-oriented discussion, it further points to inter and intra-institutional dynamics that undermine an effective implementation of existing programmatic approaches to gender and diversity in DDR.

Keywords: DDR, reintegration, armed groups, Colombia, Securitization, gender, diversity, discourse, analysis

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, DDR, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC

Citation:

Mendez, Andrea. 2012. “Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC.” Master's Thesis, Queen’s University.

Author: Andrea Mendez

Abstract:

Women are usually represented as victims in the literature on conflict and conflict resolution. While women are indeed victims of violence in the context of conflict, this representation excludes the experiences of women who have joined and fought in illegal armed groups. Little is known about the lives of women who fight alongside men in illegal militarised organizations. These women are often overlooked during peace negotiations and in the design and implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs, affecting their conditions and experiences during the transition to civilian life. The Colombian conflict presents an important case study regarding the militarization of women in illegal armed groups, and the experience of demobilization, and is the focus of this dissertation. To address this case study, the concept of “militarized gender performativity” is advanced, drawing on the works of Cynthia Enloe and Judith Butler. In the Colombian case, both left–wing and right–wing armed groups have incorporated women into their ranks. This research elucidates the effects of non– state militarism on the social processes that produce and reproduce gender systems in two of Colombia’s illegal armed groups, uncovering how the FARC and the AUC construct, negotiate, challenge, or reinforce gender roles. The research indicates that there are significant differences in the way this is done. Interviews with ex–combatants from the FARC and the AUC show that women’s sexuality plays a central role in the militarization of women combatants in both organizations, but there are specific policies that establish the nature of the relationships in each group. These differences represent distinct militarized femininities which maintain aspects of traditional gender relations while transforming others according to the needs of the organization in question. The transformation of gender identities in each of the armed groups reveals the performative nature of gender roles in a militarized context.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Militarization, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador

Citation:

Dietrich Ortega, Luisa Maria. 2015. “Untapped Resources for Peace: A Comparative Study of Women’s Organizations of Guerrilla Ex-Combatants in Colombia and El Salvador.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace, edited by Seema Shekhawat, 232–49. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Author: Luisa Maria Dietrich Ortega

Abstract:

Over the past decades, the international community has increased efforts to enhance spaces of women’s meaningful participation in all spheres of conflict to post-conflict transition. The acknowledgement of women as essential actors for sustainable peace has prompted advocacy activities to include women in planning, implementing and monitoring of peace-building efforts. Despite significant advances in the field, the challenge remains to overcome stereotypical notions that associate women as passive bystanders or only as bearers of the violent consequences of armed conflicts, while ignoring the role women play as political actors. A step towards a more inclusive and holistic transition consists of exploring contributions the female actors in armed conflict can bring to peace-building. Female ex-combatants have played active political and military roles in insurgent organizations. Besides their first-hand experience in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes, some of them maintain connections with former insurgent groups and may influence processes from within. In that sense, organizations of female ex-combatants constitute an untapped resource for the promotion of gender-responsive transitions. (Abstract from Springer)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Colombia, El Salvador

Year: 2015

Women, War and Empowerment: A Case Study of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia

Citation:

Magnæs Gjelsvik, Ingvild. 2010. “Women, War and Empowerment: A Case Study of Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia.” Master’s Thesis, Peace Research Institute Oslo, University of Tromsø.

Author: Ingvild Magnæs Gjelsvik

Annotation:

"While we have seen an increased focus in the past few decades on the role of women in armed conflict, women are still chiefly perceived and categorized as victims, civilians or being in supporting roles for male fighters (Goldstein 2001). Women‟s direct participation as combatants has received less attention. Existing literature is dominated by discourses on victimhood and vulnerability, with attention mainly focused on the negative experiences women have. In the Colombian context, little has been written about women's gains as combatants; the focus has rather been directed at issues such as forced recruitment, sexual exploitation, and forced abortions. The positive experiences women obtain from being part of armed groups has been less visible, often unknown outside the armed groups. This thesis represents an effort to offer a more nuanced and multifaceted perspective on women's experiences in war in Colombia. The analysis proceeds from the research question: To what extent are women empowered by joining guerrilla groups in Colombia?" (Gjelsvik, 2010, p. 6).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2010

El papel de las organizaciones sociales en el proceso de reintegración de las mujeres excombatientes en la ciudad de Cali, en el marco de procesos de construcción de paz desde las comunidades, 2010-2014. Estudio de caso: Coomaco

Citation:

Villareal Villa, Daniela. 2016. “El papel de las organizaciones sociales en el proceso de reintegración de las mujeres excombatientes en la ciudad de Cali, en el marco de procesos de construcción de paz desde las comunidades, 2010-2014. Estudio de caso: Coomaco.” Master’s Thesis, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario.

Author: Daniela Villareal Villa

Abstract:

Spanish Abstract:

Este trabajo pretende analizar el papel de las organizaciones sociales en los procesos de reintegración, en la configuración de escenarios dedicados al perdón y la resocialización de mujeres en proceso de reintegración en la ciudad de Cali, durante el periodo comprendido entre 2010-2014. Esta investigación puso en evidencia la falta de precisión en la ruta de reintegración de la particularidad de los procesos de reintegración de mujeres excombatientes de las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) han llevado a la discriminación de las mujeres durante el proceso. Dejando vacíos importantes que llenaron las organizaciones sociales con las comunidades. Para el desarrollo de este trabajo se realizaron entrevistas grupales a seis mujeres en proceso de reintegración, la líder de la Cooperativa Multiactiva de Madres Comunitarias, y ochenta y cinco sondeos de opinión realizados de manera aleatoria en las ciudades de Cali y Bogotá.

English Abstract:

The Role of Social Organizations in the Reintegration Process of Women Ex-combatants in the City of Cali, Within the Framework of Community-Based Peacebuilding Processes, 2010-2014. Coomaco Case Study. 

This paper analyzes the role of the social organizations in the reintegration process, the development of spaces dedicated to forgiveness and re-socialization of women in process of reintegration in the city of Cali during 2010-2014. This research highlighted the lack of precision on the reintegration program on the particularities of the reintegration processes of six former combatants women of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) that have led to discrimination against women during the process. Leaving important gaps that social organizations have filled through the work with the communities. To provide some recommendations a group of interviews were conducted to six women in the reintegration process, to one officer of the Cooperativa Multiactiva de Madres Comunitarias was made, and eighty-five polls were done randomly in the cities of Cali and Bogota.

Keywords: Conflicto Armado, Mujeres, DDR, Coomaco, Organización Social, armed conflict, women, social organization

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Justicia de género y tierras en Colombia: Desafíos para la era del ‘pos-acuerdo’

Citation:

Meertens, Donny. 2016. "Justicia de género y tierras en Colombia: Desafíos para la era del ‘pos-acuerdo’." Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe 102: 89-100.

Author: Donny Meertens

Abstract:

Spanish Abstract:

Con la firma del Acuerdo de Paz entre FARC guerrilla y el Gobierno de Colombia, en Agosto de 2016, el país enfrenta un sinnúmero de desafíos para la implementación de lo pactado, no sólo en lo inmediato (desarme-desmovilización-reintegración de excombatientes y de justicia-verdad-reparación para las víctimas) sino frente a las transformaciones democráticas estipuladas para el pos-conflicto. En esta exploración reflexiono sobre la restitución de tierras como medida de reparación a víctimas y su alcance transformativo en términos de justicia de género. Colombia es el primer país en América Latina en el cual estos dos elementos, tierras y género, han sido incorporados explícitamente en un proceso de paz. Una de las conclusiones de esta reflexión es que se requiere un mayor impulso institucional a la organización de las mujeres rurales para consolidar los resultados de la restitución, articularlos a la reforma agraria pactada en el Acuerdo de Paz y contribuir así a una participación más democrática de hombres y mujeres en el desarrollo rural del pos-conflicto. 

English Abstract:

Gender and Land Justice in Colombia: Challenges for the Post-Peace Accords Era

With the signature of a Peace Accord between FARC guerrilla and the Colombian Government in August 2016, the country confronts a great number of challenges in terms of the implementation, not only of the immediate actions needed to carry out the DDR process for ex-combatants and the truth, justice and reparations measures for the victims, but also of the long-term democratic transformations agreed upon at the negotiations table. In this exploration I will reflect on the scope of land restitution as a measure of reparations, and its transformative potential in terms of gender justice. Colombia is the first country in Latin America in which these two elements, land and gender, have been explicitly included in the peace process. One of the conclusions of this reflection is that more institutional support is needed for rural women’s organizations in order to consolidate the results of a gender-just land restitution and link these to the rural reforms of the peace agenda, as a contribution to a more democratic participation of men and women in post-conflict rural development. 

Keywords: restitución de tierras, justicia, organizaciones de mujeres, proceso de paz, gênero, gender, land restitution, justice, women's organizations, peace process

Topics: Gender, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Justice, Land grabbing, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Mobilities at Gunpoint: The Geographies of (Im)mobility of Transgender Sex Workers in Colombia

Citation:

Ritterbusch, Amy E. 2016. “Mobilities at Gunpoint: The Geographies of (Im)Mobility of Transgender Sex Workers in Colombia.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 106 (2): 1–12.

Author: Amy E. Ritterbusch

Abstract:

Drawing from geo-ethnographic data collected during a participatory action research (PAR) project funded by the National Science Foundation and subsequent research conducted in Colombia with marginalized youth populations, this article explores the sociospatial exclusion and (im)mobility of the oppressed, subjugated, and persecuted through the social cartographies, geo-narratives, and auto-photographic images of transgender sex workers that were displaced by paramilitary-led gender-based violence and forced to leave their birth cities and rural communities in Colombia at an early age. As is the case for thousands of victims of the armed conflict in Colombia, displaced transgender populations seek refuge and opportunity in the streets of Bogotá, Colombia. The (im)mobilities of transgender sex workers are explored in two stages—the forced, violent mobilities of their displacement, followed by their experiences of discrimination, sociospatial exclusion, and persecution through hate crimes and social cleansing killings on arrival in Bogotá. This article discusses how research actors constructed their own spaces of cohesion and resistance to the multifaceted discrimination and marginalization from mainstream urban society through PAR. The PAR project presented in this article continues as part of the broader struggle of transgender sex workers to challenge the exclusionary discourses and praxis that limit their mobilities and autonomy in the city. This article concludes with examples of how research actors use the action-driven elements of PAR to negotiate, analyze, and resist the relationships of power and violence embedded within their urban environment and begin to re-present and change the reality of their immobility within the city.

Keywords: Colombia, gender-based violence, gendered (im)mobilities, internally displaced persons, Participatory Action Research

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, LGBTQ, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

The Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia: Addressing Violent Masculinities in a Fragile Context

Citation:

Flisi, Isabella. 2016. “The Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia: Addressing Violent Masculinities in a Fragile Context.” Gender & Development 24 (3): 391–407. 

Author: Isabella Flisi

Abstract:

This article focuses on peace-building processes in fragile societies traumatised by violence and conflict. It argues that disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) programmes largely overlook the relationship between violent ‘militarised’ male identities and behaviour, and risks to women’s security. DDR programmes need to work with men to support them to evolve non-violent ways of ‘being a man’. The article draws on research from Colombia to illustrate its argument and show the negative consequences of combatants’ reintegration on women’s lives in that context. It suggests key steps to challenge wartime masculinities that should be included in DDR and peace-building programmes, and considers wider implications for development and humanitarian work in fragile contexts.

Keywords: masculinities, Violence against women, reintegration, gender, post-conflict, disarmament, demobilisation, DDR, Colombia

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Development, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Security, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2016

Pages

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