Gender Panic and the Failure of a Peace Agreement: Colombian Peace Talks and International Law

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Gender may have been one of the main reasons behind the rejection of the Peace Agreement in Colombia. A few hours after the narrow victory of those who opposed the deal, Senator and ex-president Álvaro Uribe Vélez gave a speech calling for the strengthening of religious family values. 1 His words echoed an argument that gained traction in recent months in Colombia, particularly in the Evangelical Christian community: 2 that the content of the Peace Accord dismantled traditional mores, such as the biological difference between man and woman, the importance of the heterosexual family, and the place of religion in public life. The genderization of the Colombian armed conflict started in the early 2000s, particularly around women. International law was crucial for the women's rights movement to demonstrate to the Colombian government and civil society that women were enduring differential and disproportionate impacts of the armed conflict. Women's groups successfully deployed General Recommendation No. 19 of the Committee on the Elimina-tion of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) (1992), 3 the Rome Statute (1998), 4 and Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) 5 and its progeny in order to articulate and demonstrate that women were disproportionately affected by violence. Recently, though, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex (LGBTI) issues also have become part of the gender-based reading of the conflict. Although well-known domestic NGOs, such as Colombia Diversa, have been reporting on the subject since 2004, 6 for more than one decade gender in the Colombian conflict was exclusively associated with women. International law is less developed in the LGBTI area. While women's rights were equated to human rights in the 1990s, it was only in 2011 that such an equation was possible for the LGBTI population. 7 The gender dimension of the Peace Agreement was rooted in international law, and mirrored its insights. The deal's rejection echoes the backlash women and LGBTI rights have been suffering around the world at the hands of conservative and religious factions. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is one of the human rights treaties to which the highest number of reservations
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-187
Number of pages4
JournalAJIL Unbound
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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