Justice for victims of sexual violence must “not be denied,” United Nations envoy Margot Wallstrom said at the end of a four-day mission to Colombia.
Wallstrom, the UN representative for sexual violence in conflict, said that justice has been “delayed” for Colombian victims of rape, sexual torture, mutilation, forced prostitution and sexual slavery.
During the mission she met with rape victims from the Meta department in central Colombia who described how illegal armed groups in Colombia used sexual violence to “scare and subjugate communities.”
“I understand that the country as a whole wants to look to the future, instead of dwelling on the past, but there can be no lasting peace without security and peace for women,” she said.
Wallstrom called on the Colombian government to do more to implement laws that have already been introduced to address sex crimes. She stressed that for survivors of rape and other sex crimes, impunity must never be an option.
“More needs to be done to support these survivors, both in terms of access to justice and assistance to help them reintegrate into society. Additional resources are required to strengthen the capacity of the judicial system in order to address the issue of sexual violence,” Wallstrom said.
Wallstrom “welcomed the vice president’s commitment to a framework for strengthened cooperation between the government and the UN.”
They have agreed to work together to share information and best practices to put survivors and victims “at the center of our efforts to assist them,” according to Wallstrom.