Cartagena, August 6th, 2018.- Today, the Colombian State recognized its international responsibility for not investigating and repairing the forced displacement suffered by Nicolasa and her family members, which occurred in 2000. Said displacement took place during the internal armed conflict.
“The displacement situation forced myself and my family to live under precarious social and economic conditions”, said Nicolasa, who was 12 years old when this occurred. “The forces of faith and of hope have allowed me to get by, as well as the support of my family that has made us better each and every day.”
The act was held after an international process before the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR). During this process, the State committed itself to hold a public event to adopt measures for reparation and to apologize for not having investigated with due diligence the occurrences that led to the forced displacement of Nicolasa’s family 18 years ago from the municipality of San Ofre, department of Sucre, by the illegally armed actors.
During the event, the State recognized that the displaced people found themselves in a state of major vulnerability and a situation of risk that required special attention. Moreover, both parties signaled to the fact that the socio-historic conditions of certain groups of displaced people- within these groups women, afro-descendants, and indigenous peoples- increases the exposure to certain risks such as gender based violence and other crimes. Nicolasa, throughout her fight for justice, has become a leader for the rights of the populations of women and afro-descendants who have been displaced.
Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law, noted that “investigating acts of the armed conflict is key in the fight against impunity, to guarantee that there is no repetition of these human rights violations, above all in the actual context of implementing the peace accords”.
According to statistics of the Registro Único de Víctimas, from 1985 to 2018 there have been 7.3 million people in Colombia who have been victims of displacements caused by the internal armed conflict; affecting young women and girls of afro-descendant and/or indigenous communities differently. It is hoped that the measure will contribute in the reconstruction of historical truth and bring about a larger conscience of the Colombian society and institutions regarding the need to address the claims of people who have been internally displaced.
“For this reason, the international processing of the case and the recognition of the responsibility of the State has had a very important positive effect for Nicolasa and her family because it confirmed that their efforts and their decision to reclaim their access to justice was worth the effort, that their voices were heard, and that their dignity is now valued and heard”, indicated Linda Maria Cabrera Cifuentes, subdirector of SISMA Mujer.
The event counted on the participation of the representatives of SISMA Mujer, the Colombian Commission of Jurists, Red Nacional de Mujeres de Colombia, and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) who have accompanied Nicolasa’s family at national and international forums during almost two decades.