The absence of women at the negotiating table is shocking

Posted on Oct 6 2012 - 5:37pm by Rico

AlertNet is precise in saying: Colombia missed an opportunity to include women in the peace talks. Michelle Bachelet has said it: “ … peace cannot be constructed without including women.”

It is shocking the absence of women at the negotiating table in the current process with the FARC.

Shocking. Because:

Women are the main victims of the conflict and they make up about 50 percent of the Colombian population.

Women and children, particularly Afro-Colombian and indigenous, make up the majority of those displaced by the violence.  (Related: Women are most vulnerable among displaced.)

In Colombia, men have repeatedly used sexual violence against women — and rape — as weapons of war. (Related: Women as Weapons of War.)

If women were included formally, and not left to watch from the sidelines, there would be greater community building. Former combatants would be more likely to be welcomed back by their former communities.

Here, read a letter addressed to President Santos from women’s organizations demanding women be included at the negotiating table.

So far, the core of the government’s negotiating team, which comprise those who will permanently sit at the table, are all men. Can’t they include at least one women?