Practice Relating to Rule 134. Women
Colombia’s Law Addressing Violence and Discrimination against Women (2008) states:
The National Government:
6. Will strengthen the presence of institutions responsible for the prevention of violence against women and for the protection and care of the victims of such violence in areas where their lives and integrity are at particular risk owing to conflict situations caused by the violent actions of armed actors.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens
status, … [include] the obligation to protect the rights of women affected by armed conflict.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2008, in its Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, the Ministry of National Defence of Colombia stated:
Attention to special groups
The important thing in any event is to ensure that these groups – … women and children, … –receive adequate attention and protection, for which purpose liaison officers will be appointed where they do not already exist, complaints and concerns will be heard, and mechanisms will be established to provide a prompt response. Women and children in particular enjoy special protection under IHL [footnote: 1977 First Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions: “Art. 76. Protection of women: 1. Women shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault … ”; Art. 77. Protection of children: 1. Children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault”] and this protection is reflected in the National Security Forces’ manuals, operational orders and ROE [Rules of Engagement].
In 2008, in its sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Colombia stated:
In 2007, enhanced oversight was conducted of the guarantee of rights from a gender perspective aimed at ensuring the rights of youth and adolescents, which resulted in a call from the Office of the Attorney General to the national and territorial authorities:
e) In the framework of international humanitarian law, the Office of the Attorney General stresses the recommendation of the United Nations Secretary General, who stated that the protection and promotion of human rights of women and girls in armed conflict is a matter of compelling urgency.
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) states:
In these cases, the IHL rules favour especially the civilian population, so that the assistance and protection which the parties to the conflict shall bring are given in priority to the most vulnerable persons or groups of persons, who are: … pregnant women.