GAAMAC hosts Women, Peace and Security side event in New York

2 November 2022
On 26 October 2022, GAAMAC supported a panel on the symbolic power of justice to prevent violence against women in conflicts. Coming from Colombia and Guatemala, two of GAAMAC’s partners examined how seeking justice for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence (CRSGBV) impacted legal system, society, and the empowerment of women in these countries.

The panel took the form of an interactive discussion with key experts from a country and thematic perspective:

The conversation was moderated by Dr Christine Ryan, Legal Director of the Global Justice Center.

All participating organizations are partners of GAAMAC and this event was the first collaboration between the Global Justice Center – based in New York – and the Americas Initiative. To GAAMAC, it was a real satisfaction to see a new collaboration blossoming, in the true convening spirit of our network.

Contextualizing “accountability as prevention” in Latin America

In her opening remarks, Christine Ryan recalled that gender equality and ending impunity for CRSGBV was at the core of mass atrocities prevention efforts. This idea was reaffirmed both at the 13 April 2022 Security Council Debate on “Accountability as prevention: ending the cycles of sexual violence in conflict” and the 20 October 2022 Security Council debate on Women, peace and security.

Against this backdrop, the speakers’ interventions detailed how these efforts were taking place in Colombia and Guatemala. Interventions were based on the 2021 policy brief, Lessons learned from armed conflicts in Colombia and Guatemala to prevent violence against girls and women.

Adriana Benjumea started by explaining the policy brief’s methodology, and why the compared study of the two countries was relevant. Brisna Caxaj and Luz Piedad Caicedo then presented the policy brief’s findings on Guatemala and Colombia respectively. Despite the countries being at different stages of post-conflict justice, several common themes emerged: the intersectionality of violence, which affected indigenous women disproportionately; the reluctance of the judiciary to acknowledge the organized and systemic nature of CRSGBV; the insufficient resources and/or political will judicial institutions are facing.

At the end of the presentations, the floor was opened to questions and comments from the audience. Among them was a special intervention from Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, a Colombian NGO fighting for a greater involvement of women in politics and peacebuilding processes.

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