IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Salutes Gender Parity in the Cabinet of Ministers in Colombia

August 13, 2018

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
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mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes gender parity in the cabinet of ministers of Colombia's new government, which also has a female vice president, as well as progress in women's participation in the legislature after the 2018 elections.

"The participation and adequate representation of women at all levels of government is a necessary condition for the strengthening of democracy, since it promotes political pluralism through the integration of the voices and demands of women, who in Colombia make up 52% of the population," said IACHR President and Rapporteur on Women's Rights, Commissioner Margarette Macaulay. "In this regard, we welcome the decision of the Government of Colombia, which is in line with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission, to implement measures to respect and guarantee the exercise of women's political rights," she added.

Women's participation in public affairs and equal access to public office have been recognized as fundamental rights in both the inter-American and universal human rights systems. The IACHR has also pointed out that the participation of women in positions of power and political decision-making can have a multiplier effect in achieving equal rights in all areas relevant to gender equality, not just in politics.

In this year's elections in Colombia, four of the five presidential candidates had a female candidate as a double candidate. The appointment of women to half of the ministries included the new government's decision to designate women to ministries that had traditionally been occupied by men. For example, the Ministry of the Interior will be led by a woman for the first time in Colombian history. The IACHR expresses its expectation that these positive signs will mark the way towards the adoption of additional measures to comprehensively address the rights of women, girls and adolescents in the country.

"Since the legislative act of the National Constituent Assembly that allowed women to exercise their right to vote in 1954, the struggle of women to participate in the political sphere has faced serious challenges," said IACHR Rapporteur for Colombia, Commissioner José Eguiguren Praeli. "The joint cabinet and the inclusion of a woman in the presidential formula are positive steps in this direction," he added.

Regarding the presence of women in the Colombian Congress, it has increased from 7.7% in 1991 to 20.8% in 2018. Although this percentage still does not meet the 30% gender quota established in Law 1475 of 2011, it shows a positive trend that is recognized and that needs to be deepened and broadened.

The IACHR also stresses the importance of including women from all sectors of society, especially from historically discriminated groups, such as women of African descent, indigenous women, and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 180/18