Colombia: Guaranteeing justice and non-repetition in cases of gender-based violence during repression of National Strike must be central to any police reform

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12/01/2022

Women and LGBTIQ+ protesters, journalists and human rights defenders suffered sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence at the hands of Colombia’s National Police and its Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) during the repression of the National Strike in 2021, Amnesty International said today in a new report. The police do not protect me: Sexual violence and other gender-based violence during the 2021 National Strike documents28 cases of gender-based violence that took place in seven cities against women and LGBTIQ+ people in the context of the protests. The report details an array of violent behavior by state agents, particularly National Police officers, ranging from the use of sexist, misogynist and abusive language to sexual violence, which can constitute a form of torture. “Gender-based violence, and particularly sexual violence, have a painful history in the context of the Colombian armed conflict – a history that authorities have yet to overcome. We received hundreds of reports of gender-based violence during the National Strike in 2021 detailing psychological violence, discrimination, threats, touching, sexual harassment, forced nudity, torture and sexual violence. Having documented 28 of these incidents in depth, it’s clear that gender-based violence was a tool of repression that the National Police used to punish those who dared to speak out and protest,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General at Amnesty International.

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