Report | 07-10-2013
Colombia Gender

Colombian Afro-descendant Peasant Women Make Demands to UN Committee

Report on women’s rights to adequate food and nutrition in Colombia

Some ancestral seeds from Afro-descendant communities, Colombia

Geneva, 02.10.2013 – Afro-descendant peasant women in the Cauca region of Colombia experience continuous violations of their right to adequate food and nutrition due to the expansion of the agro-industrial sugarcane sector and the resulting lack of adequate safeguards for accessing land for agricultural production. This statement has been portrayed in a common report by FIAN International and FIAN Colombia submitted to the UN Women’s Rights Committee CEDAW, and orally presented by Adelaida Molina, member of the affected communities, who presents the struggles and demands of the women of the community Monte Oscuro today in Geneva during the CEDAW Committee’s Review of Colombia.

FIAN International calls on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to recommend the Colombian State to adopt all necessary measures to ensure that families of the Community Peasant Council of Palenque Monte Oscuro of the Cauca region of Colombia have adequate access to land and the productive activities that enable them to realize their right to adequate food and nutrition.

The Community Peasant Council of Palenque Monte Oscuro (CCCPMO) is composed of 50 families or 276 persons - 90% are afro-descendant and the majority engage in agricultural work - who live in the north of the Cauca region of Colombia. For years, the members of the CCCPMO have been making demands to the Colombian State to grant them access to their lands in the Cauca River Valley so that they may engage in productive work and realize their right to food. These lands were lost by the families as a result of the expansion of the agro-industrial sugarcane sector and the resulting land grabbing that took place in the area. Although in 2009 the National Direction of Narcotics (DNE) granted 76 hectares of land to the CCCPMO, 7 months after granting access to the CCCPMO and after families had invested in and begun working the land, the CCCPMO families were displaced again without compensation for the investment they had made or relocation to another piece of land. The reason for the displacement given by the DNE was that the land was in the “zone of influence” of a sugarcane company and, as such, it would be granted to them.

“To this day, we do not enjoy access to the land we need in order to carry out our agricultural work and realize our human right to adequate food and nutrition,” says Adelaida Molina.

Denisse Córdova of FIAN International noted that “Colombia has neglected its obligation to realize women’s right to adequate food and nutrition because the women of the CCCPMO do not have safeguards for agricultural production and to grow adequate food with their own seeds. They do not count with individual or collective titles for lands. The State does not provide protection to the transfer of traditional knowledge, of which women are the primary holders, and thus, the survival of their culture. Furthermore, women do not have sufficient financial capacity to purchase culturally and nutritionally adequate food and do not enjoy adequate access to drinking water since water sources are heavily polluted by industrial wastes and by-products of spraying.”

FIAN International and FIAN Colombia have worked with the affected women in Colombia, and, as a result, submitted the report to the CEDAW Committee, and supported Adelaida Molina to take part in the CEDAW Committee’s Review of Colombia and to participate in various activities to bring attention to the struggle of afro-descendant peasant women in her community at the international level.

"FIAN International looks forward to the CEDAW Committee's Concluding Observations to the Colombian State later this month and hopes the Committee takes into account our suggested recommendations in regards to women's right to adequate food and nutrition," said Ana Maria Suarez Franco, permanent representative of FIAN in Geneva.

Please find below the report on the right to adequate food and nutrition of women in Colombia (in Spanish):