Colombia · 28 December, 2020

The European Union and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office share good practices to eliminate gender-based violence

The European Union EUROsociAL+ programme and Colombian institutions and society have shown their determination to implement good practices dedicated to eliminating violence based on gender and gender identity and to propose the development of institutional tools that can help investigate and punish them.

Gender violence in Europe and Latin America is not a new phenomenon. Latin America is the region with the highest rates of femicides in the world. According to ECLAC, in 2019 the number of femicides exceeded 3,800. According to data from the United Nations, prior to COVID-19, worldwide 137 women and girls were murdered daily by a member of their family.

The European Union and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office express their commitment to the fight against gender violence in Colombia

In the opening panel, the European Union Ambassador in Colombia, Patricia Llombart, reiterated her commitment to eradicating all types of gender violence within the framework of support for public policies that promote gender equality in Colombia.

On the other hand, the coordinator of the EU EUROsociAL+ programme Gender Equality area, Ana Pérez, expressed her commitment to promoting gender equality in Colombia through the various actions undertaken by the area in the country. She also alluded to the influence that the current situation regarding Covid-19 has had on gender violence, doubling, since its inception, rates of gender violence in the domestic sphere.  On the other hand, she considered it important to remember that before the arrival of the pandemic there was also an upward trend, different in each country depending on their particular circumstances, with respect to violence in public spaces.

Likewise, the national attorney general, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, recalled, during his speech, the notable increase in the prosecution of femicide cases, which currently stands at 94% and he thus reiterated the commitment of the Prosecutor’s Office to be able to expedite the application of justice in these cases of violence against women.

Due diligence is what obliges states to comply with the laws they pass in advance

“The gender perspective is an analytical tool that allows us to understand, analyse and gain a deeper knowledge of a criminal act based on social gender relations. In fact, it is essential that incorporating this tool continues throughout the criminal investigation, since it allows the causes of a criminal act to be taken into account and the laws to be applied with due diligence without diminishing the importance of this violent act,” thus Dr. Françoise Roth, an expert in the EUROsociAL+ gender area in charge of holding the opening seminar, explained the concept of “Due Diligence” as applied to the laws on gender violence.

This intervention has been a perfect start for a congress that aims to recognise experiences which, from within the framework of comparative law, have been launched to face gender violence and gender identity violence.

During her presentation, Françoise Roth wanted to highlight the importance of the state investigating and sanctioning all complaints regarding gender-based violence and, in addition, she recalled the need to provide the authorities with knowledge and capacities to evaluate whether there is danger when a woman comes to report a crime.

The position of guarantor in cases of gender-based violence, described by Martha Janeth Mancera

In this virtual conference, a series of experts were present who spoke about a number of important topics including the influence of context in the investigation of crimes involving intrafamily violence, the most significant points from the Good Practice Guide and the interests and concerns of civil society in its formulation.

During her presentation Dr. Martha Janeth Mancera, the deputy attorney general in Columbia (E), discussed the application of the guarantor position in cases of gender-based violence. In addition, Dr. Paula Guerrero, the deputy director of criminal policy with the FGN, who gave a presentation on the Domestic Violence Directive from the Prosecutor’s Office. Next, it was the turn of Dr. Luis Fernando Bedoya, a criminal chamber assistant magistrate with the Supreme Court of Justice, who talked about the importance of context in the investigation of crimes related to domestic violence.

Guidance in the investigation and prosecution of violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity

After a question session, it was the turn of Dr. Mauricio Noguera Rojas, an advisor to the office of the national Deputy Attorney General, in charge of presenting the Guide to Good Practices for the investigation and prosecution of violence based on the sexual orientation and/or gender identity (real or perceived) of the victim, who presented the central theme of the congress and identified the main tools to fight against violence based on gender and gender identity. For his part, Fernando Calado, the director of the USAID – Colombia Human Rights Program, discussed the information in the Good Practice Guide, providing the international cooperation perspective. The last speaker was Dr. Wilson Castañeda, the director of Caribbean Affirmative Corporation, which works to defend the rights of LGBTI people in the most remote territories of the Colombian Caribbean.

At the close of this first day of the congress, Dr. Carmen Torres Malaver, a delegate for Citizen Security, and Dr. Yully Astrid Quiroga Forero, the director of Altos Estudios, held an event to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

 Compared Experiences: Violence due to gender identity in Europe and Latin America

The first presentation on the second day of the congress was given by Dr. Lukas Berredo, the coordinator of the project “Transrespect versus Transphobia in the World” and Jorge Maria Londoño, who co-chairs the organisation Transgender Europe. These presentations made it possible to raise awareness and present updated data on trans and gender-diverse people who have been reported as murdered worldwide, highlighting that in Europe, racialised and black trans women migrants are more vulnerable and are more frequently attacked.

Next came Dr. Laura Weinstein, Trans Leader and director of the Trans Action and Support Group Foundation (GAAT). A female spokesperson for the LGBT table in Bogotá, who was the creator of the Fundación Transrevolucionando Géneros, she focused her presentation on the “Characterisation of trans people and transfemicide”.

Investigation of transfeminicides increases, the case of Vicky Hernández

In 2009, Vicky Hernández was found dead on a street in San Pedro Sula, becoming the first of 15 trans people killed during the coup in Honduras. About the success in the investigation and resolution of this case is the fourth presentation of this day, entitled “Presentation of successful cases in the investigation of transfeminicides” and was developed by Dr. Angelita Baeyens, Lawyer from American University, a woman who worked with the IACHR and is currently the legal coordinator of the Kennedy Center for Human Rights in Washington DC.

The last speaker was Dr. Farid Eduardo Plata, Deputy Prosecutor before Circuit Judges of the Huila Sectional Directorate and he was in charge of explaining the details of the National Case: Anyela Ramos,” the first case of transfemicide charged in Colombia.

The person in charge of putting the finishing touch to this Congress was Dr. Martha Janeth Mancera, Deputy Attorney General of the Nation, who closed it by giving way to the moving act of commemoration in remembrance of trans victims, a well-deserved tribute to so many people who fight every day for their rights in Latin America.

The “International Congress on Good Practices to eliminate violence based on gender and gender identity,” held in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation of Colombia, is part of various national and regional activities of the physical autonomy line to combat violence gender driven by policy area gender Equality EUROsociAL+ during the month of November 2020.

This congress is part of the accompaniment action to the Attorney General’s Office of Colombia “Strengthening investigation of gender violence and crimes perpetrated by women against their aggressors,” with the contributions of the experts Françoise Roth and Monica Suarez Moscoso and with the monitoring of Jackeline Rojas, Senior Technician in the EUROsociAL+ Gender Equality area, coordinated by Expertise France.

Country: Colombia
SDG: Gender equality
Policy area: Gender equality policies