Monday, 8 March 2010

The situation of LBT women in Colombia

Flag Atop the Castillo de San Felipe de BarajasImage by Hanoi Mark via Flickr
Source: ILGA

Document prepared by Colombia Diversa for The Beijing+15 review
1 - 12 March 2010 - UN Commission on the Status of Women, New York.

There is little information regarding the status of human rights of lesbian and bisexual women in Colombia. Difficulties related with the inexistence of state information systems or human rights organizations that include variables on the sexual orientation and gender identity of the victims, prevents the work of human rights defenders to shed some light on the real situation of this population.

Measures are not taken to eliminate the discrimination against women in all matters regarding marriage and family relationships.

Although the Colombian Government, through court rulings of the Constitutional Court C-075/2007, C-811/2007, C-798/2008, C-336/2008 and C-029/2009 has recognized rights for same sex couples – excluding marriage and adoption-, there are still obstacles for the enforcement of said rulings such as: prejudice and disinformation by public officials, requests for additional and different requirements to those applied to heterosexual couples, discriminatory interpretations of the rulings that limit the effective practice of rights.

Absence of neutrality of the Attorney General’s Office to defend the rights of same sex couples.

Attorney General Mr. Ordoñez, and Mrs. Hoyos, Delegate Attorney General for Childhood, Adolescence and Family, have stated that sexual and reproductive rights are not human rights and that the focus of gender is a dangerous “gender ideology” that is reduced to the promotion of abortion in anti-life campaigns and anti-family campaigns. On the other hand, through their documents, they have repeatedly shown little consideration and respect for human rights international law and international organisms and mechanisms in the defense of rights such as CEDAW, UNIFEM or have ignored vast interpretations of other committees of the United Nations regarding the concept of family.

Adoption by lesbian women

In concrete cases such as the request for acknowledgment to a lesbian woman to adopt a biological daughter of her permanent partner, this same organism decided to exercise an administrative surveillance of the case, to ensure that the standing of the Colombian Government be the aforementioned.

Violence and police abuse

For the years 2006- 2007 Colombia Diversa reports the murder of at least 17 transvestites dedicated to prostitution. These women are also the main victims of police abuse together with people who make their sexual orientation evident in public, such as same sex couples.

Prison situation

Lesbians, bisexuals and transvestites in prisons suffer violation of rights such as considering lesbianism as indiscipline, limitations of conjugal visits for their same sex partner in prison, control over affectionate and sexual relationships between inmates, prohibition to use clothes of the gender different to their biological one, degrading and humiliating treatments, such as denying access to cells or forcing them to shave their heads. All this was corroborated by the Human Rights Commission of the Senate.

Economic, social and cultural rights

The needs and rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are not acknowledged, studied or contemplated by the public policies of the Government. It was established that lesbian and bisexual women are afraid to recognize their sexual orientation to medical personnel and for the case of transvestite women, their specific needs are not recognized by medical personnel, which implies a deficient medical attention, adding to the low subscription to the social security system in health by the latter.

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