Colombia’s government and rebel fighters have agreed LGBTI and women’s equality will be part of a peace deal to end 50 years of civil war.
The South American country is moving towards peace after five decades of conflict leaving more than 260,000 dead, 45,000 missing and more than 6.5million people displaced.
But last month’s ceasefire and disarmament deal was only the first step.
On Sunday, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Zainab Bangura, the UN’s top envoy for sex abuse in conflict, presented a partial draft of the new peace deal in Havana.
And apart from ending Latin America’s last civil war, it could also be a game changer for the LGBTI community.
‘Putting gender in a peace agreement is a first,’ said Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Maria Angela Holguin.
‘It has never before been done in (ending) war.’
As part of the deal, the government and the FARC rebels agreed on promoting gender equality to ‘create conditions for women and people with diverse sexual identity to be able to access on equal terms to the benefits of living in a country without armed conflict’.
‘We are aware that the changes that the country needs for peace-building cannot be possible without a society that recognizes and respects differences, and in which stigmatization and gender-biased discrimination remain in the past’ FARC-EP said in a statement.
The deal would see women and sexual minorities encouraged to take part in politics and social matters. It would strengthen women’s organizations and the LGBTI movement.
More immediately, it would also make it easier for both groups to receive land to farm on, redistributed through a ‘land fund’.
And they would get financial compensation if they stop growing drug crops, according to Colombia Reports.
The LGBTI community has played a vital part of the peace talks for the past two years.
As part of the Gender Sub-Commission, 18 women’s and LGBTI organizations contributed to the draft and will continue working to ensure the agreements are reached and promises kept.
Colombia’s civil war between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) started between 1964 and 66.
If the peace deal goes ahead, the agreement will be put to the Colombian electorate in a public vote. The government believes it is just weeks from a final deal. – Read more at: http://scl.io/bzu1AvL8#gs.Flr3a0g