19, August, 2013

Access to Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Conflicts: Three Latin American Approaches

From innovative methodologies for investigating and documenting sexual violence, to legal reforms and CSO-led support initiatives, Latin American countries are having success in improving access to justice for women victims of sexual violence.

What progress has been achieved in Latin America in the struggle for justice for women victims of sexual violence in contexts of conflict? In what ways have judicial institutions and grassroots organisations in Latin America learned from experiences in other regions of the world? What are the key features of more integral approaches to access to justice? This Brief responds to these questions by presenting three different experiences from Colombia, Guatemala and Peru, where innovations in research and documentation, development of legal frameworks and victim support are helping to expose the magnitude and impacts of gender violence on women during armed conflict. In turn, this is paving the way for more appropriate prevention and redress measures that restore dignity to women.  This Brief also discusses the contextual factors underpinning these Latin American approaches, as well as key lessons that may be useful for other contexts.

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Lecciones clave:

  • Truth commissions and other institutional processes mandated to collect evidence about crimes committed during armed conflicts require specific methodologies that reveal the different forms of violence suffered by specific population groups, including, but not limited to, women.
  • A gender approach to identifying the causes and consequences of violence during armed conflicts transforms classic definitions of reparation, not as a return to conditions prior to the human rights violations, but as a transformation of those socio-cultural conditions which permit acts of violence against women to continue.

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