FARC-EP, News from Havana, Cuba, 09.09.2014 [En]

For a New Colombia without gender discrimination

Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks, September 7, 2014

The FARC-EP adopts as a principle the non-discrimination on grounds of gender, and in particular the respect, guarantee and protection of all human rights of women. Equality and justice are fundamental principles of the objectives of the struggle of our insurgent force and an essential part of the democratic society we aspire to achieve in the New Colombia. In this construction, the guerrilla women play an irreplaceable role in contributing to the struggle; about 40 percent of our total insurgent organization consists of female guerrilla fighters.

Our project for a democratic society includes the liberation of women from the shackles of discrimination and exploitation, to which they are subjected by a capitalist and sexist society that restricts them in the exercise of their human rights. It is appalling that women in Colombia continue earning between 15 and 23 percent less than their male counterparts, while extending their working hours in many cases, for more than 16 hours a day, this is, adding working hours and work at home. Female unemployment is almost the double of male unemployment. According to the 2012 report of the World Economic Forum, Colombia is ranked 114 (out of 135 countries) in terms of the participation of women in labor force, and it ranks 111 in terms of wage differentials between men and women performing the same work (2).

In addition to discrimination, women are victims of multiple forms of violence, including that produced in the home and family, and society in general in the context of social and armed conflict. The State, by act or omission, is the main responsible for this situation.

Within our organization, men and women enjoy a statutory recognition; we have some rules and a praxis of coexistence of men and women, according to which enjoy equal rights and duties. This guerrilla legality includes definitions of crimes against the civilian population, and also against members of our ranks.

In the FARC-EP, abuse in all its forms is severely punished; sexual violence is defined as a serious crime and treated as such. Nevertheless, in spite of the existing regulations and taking into account the sociocultural background of our militants, we recognize that there are still prejudices and some patriarchal attitudes, expressed in a subtle, indirect or subjective way, as in the rest of Colombian society, but with the difference that our principles allow us and compel us to fight against them. In this struggle we promote revolutionary and cultural values ​​of respect and equality, and specifically dignifying the role of women in our organization and society.

The FARC-EP rejects any strategy or smear campaign that seeks to link the actions of the guerrilla to practices of sexual violence. These practices are totally alien to our principles and thus in no way tolerated in our ranks, nor regarding the rest of the female population. As a principle, we strongly reject beating women, using sexual violence as a weapon of war, or as an instrument of pressure, retaliation, revenge or humiliation. These are not, and never have been, practices of the FARC-EP, nor those associated with rape and abuse of their bodies, trafficking and slavery.

We denounce the manipulation that insists in accusing us of these practices, when it is a recognized fact that the official and para-state forces are the ones who implement this as a policy of pressure and destabilization of the population and as a strategy of war, in order to undermine our social support and submit the peasantry and other sections of the population to its dictates. It is well known that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war is a systematic practice of state forces and paramilitaries.

The different types of contraceptive methods and abortion in favorable medical conditions, as a last measure to prevent births in the middle of the intensity of the confrontation, have also been subject of the same smear campaigns against the insurgency. The FARC-EP defends the right of women to exercise full control over their own bodies. This is a right which is obviously also the banner of the female guerrilla fighters. We commonly apply temporary measures to protect pregnancy, childbirth and lactation in conditions of war, while the children are handed over by their parents to relatives or friends, so that they can grow up in an appropriate environment.

Beyond our rules and will as to not abuse the civilian population, for whom we fight, it is a fact that in the territories affected by the social and armed conflict, women have been direct and indirect victims of the confrontation, either by accidental events beyond the control of our combatants, or at the hands of our class enemy and its armed wings, whether military, police or paramilitaries, as a result of a systematic practice of terror. Moreover, they are used and pressured to act as agents, in charge of developing jobs of infiltration and espionage within our organization and their own communities. For all these reasons, we know that women experience and suffer the impacts of the conflict in a particular way, often compounded by multiple factors: their gender, social class, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, status of displaced person or refugee, political prisoner, head of household, among others. Therefore, our proposals will take into account the multiple discrimination experienced by some women or groups of women, in order to establish and implement development programs and promotion of their rights.

The FARC-EP recognizes the invaluable contribution of women in the production of economic, cultural and social values: not as a minority or as a vulnerable group, not only as a source of reproduction of human society itself, but as a political subject and majority of society has every right, capacity and legitimacy to take, on equal terms with men, responsibilities in all areas of national life.

Therefore, we express the just necessity to incorporate a gender perspective in all discussions and dialogues for the design and implementation of the Peace Accords; at the same time, we express our political will to promote the participation of Colombian women and our own militants in the peace process, like we have done in all areas of our guerrilla movement.

The FARC-EP considers that the fundamental role of the gender subcommittee should be to meet the mandate of women’s organizations in Colombia and the world, expressed through the UN, by the Convention of 18 December 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the various conferences and resolutions regarding women and gender, such as the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995 and the International Declaration of the rights of peasants and other people who work in rural areas, 2012, among others, and meeting the just and logical demands and expectations raised by this issue in social and women’s organizations in Colombia.

The State has an obligation to ensure, starting now, a leading role for women in the development of the Peace Agreement and the New Colombia. The FARC-EP will make efforts to make this come true.

Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP

(1) Development UNDP information GEIH DANE: Unemployment rates of men and women from 2002 to 2013. In 2013, unemployment among women was 13%, while it was 7% for men.

(2) The Global Gender Gap Report 2012, World Economic Forum.

Last modified on Sunday, 07 September 2014 19:56


FARC propose Fund for comprehensive victim’s compensation

Alexandra Nariño Peace Delegation FARC-EP


Havana, Cuba – The FARC, by mouth of its spokeswoman Alexandra Nariño, developed today the 5, 6 and 7 proposal of the ten minimum proposals on victims of the social and armed conflict.

One of the initiatives is the creation of a “Special Fund for Comprehensive Compensation for the Victims of the Conflict”, which should consist of – at least – 3% of the annual Gross Domestic Product. The direct participation of representatives of victims’ organizations should be guaranteed.

According to the insurgency, the comprehensive compensation of the victims should re-establish the situation of individual and collective victims as it was before the victimizing events took place, and compensate the impact on their lives, “according to international standards”.

A national plan should be established to this purpose, called “National Plan for a Comprehensive Compensation of the Victims of the Conflict”, which should focus on social, territorial and gender justice.

The compensation shouldn’t only be economic, but also political, social, cultural, simbolic and psyco-social.

Finally, the insurgency announced the official installation of the gender sub-commission of the peace talks, taking place at 10:00 am. Read the official inauguration communique of the FARC-EP.

Last modified on Sunday, 07 September 2014 17:59


Part II: IS seen through the eyes of PKK guerrilla forces

PKK, the Workers Party of Kurdistán: many people know their name, few really know what their struggle is about. www.farc-epeace.org had the opportunity to speak with two representatives of the PKK’s women’s organization – PAJK, Zelal Dersim and Asia Dicle, about the situation in the Middle-East, IS, the role of the United States, the peace process with the Turkish government and, last but not least, the PKK struggle for freedom. This is the second part of the interview.

PKK in a nutshell

Part I: The double standards of the Western world according to PKK

Part II: IS seen through the eyes of PKK guerrilla forces

The daily events in the Middle-East”, writes Öcalan, their leader, who has been kidnapped and imprisoned since 1999, “are marked by by many conflicts, which are not understood by the Western world, because they seem to elude the rationality and logic of the West”.

PD: How do you explain the rise of IS?

“We think you should see IS within a context of US attempts to protect their interests in the region. For us, it is clear that IS is part of Al Qaeda. The United States used the movement led by Osama Bin Laden for their interests in Afganistan; in the same way, they are trying to use IS in the whole region of the Middle-East now”, says Zelal Dersim.

Asia Dicle: “The Middle East is a very complicated area for imperialism, it has its own nature. There are many countries that are directly controlled by imperialism, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan. But there are some countries which imperialism has never been able to control completely, like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, among others. Many of the countries in the Middle-East are not 100% capitalist; their cultures have many feudal aspects. The collusion between capitalists societies and the feudal reality many people – mostly on the countryside- experience, produces a depression which has to find its way out: people want things to change. For the US, it is of utmost importance to block any alternative to the capitalist system – like for example democratic confederalism(1), the ultimate goal of the PKK. In one word, they try to block the hope for democracy through their world-wide paramilitary apparatus.

Another important aspect, according to Zelal, is that the region is rich in oil and other natural resources. England, France, the US; they all have had direct presence in the region to exploit them. But lately, this concept of the “direct intervention and exploitation by countries” has been adapted; now, big multinational companies are representing their interests in the region.

PD: Why do you think the US is fighting against IS now?

Zelal: First of all, we know that the US, when they said they had bombed IS, what they were really bombing was desert. They know perfectly well where the central command posts of IS are located so there is no way of talking about mistakes here. There has never been any US attack against IS. All the terrorists of IS travel freely between Turkey (where there are some of their camps) and Syria. They go to the hospital in Turkey when they are wounded and travel to Syria again without any problem. Turkey also supports them.

Click to see the photo gallery

PD: Why are they holding up the facade of combating IS then?

Asia: After the war in Iraq, where 2 million people died, the anti-American sentiment of the people in the Middle East has deepened a lot. Not even the many wars the country experienced had killed that many people. The US know well that they are not popular in the region. So when this really cruel and blood-thirsty IS movement rises, the forces in South Kurdistan were shocked and not prepared to face such threat. The KDP Peshmerga (2) asked the international community for money and support. For the US this was the perfect opportunity to show that they are not so bad after all.

Zelal: The PKK has known these kind of policies by the US for many years. First, they turned Al Qaeda into the perfect enemy and the perfect excuse to invade Afghanistan. They didn’t succeed in the Arab Springs and they tried then with IS to intervene in Syria as they are not going to intervene directly. In Libya they used the same policy.
That’s why we call for the forces in Kurdistan to get united and we try to bring together different movements from Kurdistan and people from the Middle East to fight in an organized way against IS. We should form one big front against IS, but without nobody trying to dominate or to crush anybody else. The PKK has the power to open the doors to democracy in the Middle East, because we are organized and we have precise ideas about what we want. Moreover, if democracy is established in just one country, it will have a domino-effect; other countries will follow.
We were carrying out much diplomatic work before the IS-attacks, we were putting the basis for the establishment of democracy. Imperialism tries by all means to block our diplomatic relations, and of course the assassination of three of our comrades in Paris (in January 2013), who were establishing diplomatic relations, had to do with that.

PD: What role do powerful countries like Iran or Syria play?

Zelal: As you say, Iran is important, it is a powerful country. International media say that Iran has nuclear weapons, which is a lie. Since 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took over power in Iran, the imperialists try to attack it. But we also criticize Iran because it is not using its immense power to democratize the region. It is not interested in what happens outside the borders of the country; it is not interested in establishing democracy in the region. It is very conservative, too; there are some anti-democratic practices (like hanging people, for example) and that is something we condemn. Syria has the same problem. At some moment, it had the power to carry out democratizing processes in the whole region, but it didn’t do it. More so, it became an ally of Turkey against the Kurdish people. That was a mistake of course, Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally of the United States. This way, Syria sent a message to the West that he was going to work along with them, but it didn’t keep in mind that the United States has its own project in the Middle East and follows only its own interests. Ghadaffi tried to get closer to the West and they were saying quite positive things about him, but afterwards they killed him anyway. We are independent and don’t play to the rules of imperialism; we don’t need its weapons nor its money, if they want to give something, let it be humanitarian help for the people in the region.

PD: Why are so many young people from the west joining IS?

Zelal: In Europe there are many Arabs and many people who we call “the loosers of capitalism”: drug-addicts, unemployed people, uneducated people, etc. There is an intense long-term preparation of these kind of people, those who are not given any opportunities by the capitalist system. They are using religion and religious sentiment of people to get them organized and sent them to Turkey and Syria. Their families don’t say anything; Western states don’t say anything, either.

In this video the population of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) is shown. We see women, protesting for their disappeared sons and/or daughters, we see a checkpoint of female guerrilla fighters of the YPJ (People’s Protection Units, sister organization of PKK) in Syria, meetings, parties, marches and a military parade held also by the YPG forces in the middle of the civil population.

 (1) Democratic Confederalism: This is a type of administration that could be called a “Democracy without a State”. The State only administrates, while democracies govern. States are based on power; democracies are based on collective consensus. Mandate in a State is being defined by decree, although in part it can be legitimized by elections. Democracies use direct elections. The State uses coercion as a legitimate means; democries are supported by voluntary participation. Democratic confederalism is open to other groups and political factions. It is flexible, multi-cultural, anti-monopolistic and consensus-oriented. Ecology and feminism are fundamental pillars (taken from: “Democratic Confederalism” Abdullah Öcalan, International Initiative Edition, 2012).

(2) KDP: Kurdistan Democratic Party: One of the biggest parties in the Iraqi part of Kurdistan, founded in 1946. It is a movement of national liberation, but it is not leftist, it should be seen more like a clan organization, closely linked to the Barzani family. Its leader from 1949 to 1979 was Mustafa Barzani, who still remains the father of the Kurdish national movement. The Peshmerga are Kurdish combatants in Iraq (either from PDK or from PUK).

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