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Afro-Colombian Woman Selected to Advise on Gender Rights in Colombia Peace Implementation Process

After initially excluding Afro-Colombian women’s groups representation, Bibiana Peñaranda was recently appointed to the Special High Level Body on Gender


Bogotá, Colombia — Afro-Colombian women gained critical representation in Colombia’s peace implementation process this week with a new selection to the Special High Level Body on Gender. Bibiana Peñaranda Sepúlveda, a gender and racial justice advocate and organizer from Buenaventura will join as the eighth member of the entity, which is tasked with ensuring a gender rights focus in peace implementation, as agreed upon in the Peace Accord between Colombia’s government and the FARC.

The Special High Level Body on Gender serves as a first-order consultant to the commission tasked with implementing Colombia's Peace Accord and is meant to ensure a gender rights focus in all aspects of peace implementation. When the seven-woman membership was selected in July 2017, it included no Afro-Colombian women. This lack of representation was deeply problematic, as Afro-Colombian women have faced disproportionate rates of sexual violence and other human rights violations in the context of conflict.

Peñaranda's appointment to the Special High Level Body on Gender is the result of advocacy by Afro-Descendant women themselves, who actively protested their exclusion, and ignited international support for their demands. These women human rights defenders have been instrumental in Colombia's peace movements, and their meaningful participation in implementation is critical to ensuring lasting peace in Colombia. Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women are at the forefront of organizing to ensure that the current peace implementation process upholds human rights and meaningfully addresses the disparities that fuel conflict.

Bibiana Peñaranda is a critical leader in the movement against racism and violence against Afro-Colombian women. A founder of Red Mariposas de Alas Nuevas Construyendo Futuro, she brings women together to address the physical and psychological consequences of conflict on women and girls in her community.

Women from a number of Afro-Colombian organizations advocated for representation in the Special High Level Body on Gender, including: Asociación de Concejos Comunitarios del Norte del Cauca (ACONC), Conferencia Nacional de Organizaciones Afrocolombianas (CNOA), Concejo Nacional de Paz Afrocolombiano (CONPA), Movilización de Mujeres Negras por el Cuidado de la Vida y los Territorios Ancestrales, Colectivo La Comadre, Asociación Nacional de Afro-Colombianos Desplazados (AFRODES), Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN), Red Mariposas de Alas Nuevas Construyendo Futuro, Red Nacional de Mujeres Afrocolombianas (KAMBIRI), Red Departamental de Mujeres Chocoanas, and Red de Mujeres Afrocaribes (REMA).