UN Women and Norway launch protection plan for female leaders in Colombia

Prodefensoras Colombia is a prevention and protection project that supports women leaders whose mission is to defend human rights and promotes peace across the country.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez

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This initiative was developed in alliance with Norway, UN Women, and the Ombudsman. The leading players in this project are the women's civil society in alliance with other 14 organizations that have the opportunity of participating in this mission.

Regarding this subject, the Executive Director of UN Women and the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo, said to Caracol Radio in the launching of the program, “I hope that this model will be an inspiration for other countries in building a movement that recognizes the creativity, resilience, solidarity, and political skills of women human right defenders through all the world”.

According to the Director, UN Women remain true to its commitment of showing solidarity to the hundreds of thousands human right defenders, especially the women human rights defenders, and their organizations that are recognizing that the world is demanding gender equality, the eradication of violence against women, and the end of racism in all forms of discrimination.

Prodefensoras protect organizations that support women and civil society for implementing preventive measures and collective protection mechanisms for the human rights women defenders through the cooperation of 5.5 million USD from Norway and UN Women for the period from 2020 to 2022.

The 3 main lines of action of Prodefensoras are a grant fund, the capacity of strengthening the response from territorial institutions under the leadership of ombudsman, and the articulation and work alliance with the women right defenders network at the regional and national levels.   

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The program received 90 proposals from a great diversity of women platforms that represented more than 150 organizations of the country associated with this cause.

Then, in a rigorous process, 10 organizations were evaluated that will work in alliance with 14 more, mainly in the departments of Cauca, Nariño, Chocó, and Antioquia. The Advisory Committee for the initiative and the selection of organizations was made up of Ombudsman, Norwegian Embassy, ​​UN Women, as convening entities, the Presidential Council for Women's Equity -PEM and the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation – APC, by the government, UN Human Rights, Verification Mission, the UN Fund for Peacekeeping, by the United Nations and the Urgent Action Fund, by civil society.

The work of these leaders is the key to peace and sustainable development in Colombia. It is worth noting that Norway has played a leading role in the United Nations in the protection of human rights defenders because unfortunately, in many parts of the world, it observes that people promoting human rights are threatened, attacked, and killed.

These attacks and intimidations are unacceptable. In the case of Colombia, these attacks aim to silence those who advocate a country free of violence.

The work of defenders is extremely important for its communities and territories because has also as objective highlight the role of women as peacebuilders.

The interest of Prodefensoras is supporting the political dialogue proves how the incidence of women can strengthen the government response in prevention and protection promoting spaces to serve the population taking into account and respecting women from all ethnicities, regions, contexts, and religions.

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