The Constitutional Court of Colombia has passed a judgement that requires all health care providers in Colombia to offer sexual violence survivors the necessary mental and physical services they need to recover—including abortion.
The decision comes after prominent women’s rights organizations—including Casa de la Mujer, Dejusticia and Women’s Link Worldwide—launched a lawsuit against the State to challenge that service provision to survivors be mandatory. The lawsuit demanded changes to Law 1719, passed in 2014, which guarantees privacy for survivors seeking care, but states delivery of care by providers is optional. National, regional and international organizations—including Nobel Women’s Initiative—and survivors supported the lawsuit.
For over fifty years, Colombia has been engaged in a civil war. There is significant evidence of systematic violence against the women of Colombia. Gender violence is perpetrated by all participants in the conflict, including guerilla groups, paramilitary forces, and the state security forces. The Court’s latest decision, Judgement C-754, is a significant step forward in the struggle to end impunity and address the physical and psychological needs of sexual violence survivors in Colombia.
“Constitutional Court reaffirms right to health of sexual assault survivors, including abortion”, Dejusticia, 17 December 2015.
“An obligation to meet the health needs of sexual violence survivors in Colombia”, O’Neill Institute, 24 December 2015.
“Dispatches: Broken promises to Colombia’s women”, Human Rights Watch, 6 July 2015.