The Berghof Foundation Hosts the Film Screening “When the waters flow as One”- a cooperation with the Colombian Embassy in Berlin and the Swedish Embassy in Berlin

A unique opportunity to explore Women´s role in Colombia´s peacebuilding process and engage in dialogue with those who experienced it firsthand

April 17th, 2024
Marina R. Ferrández Eaclapez, News from Berlin
20240417 The Berghof Foundation.jpg

The event started with a warm welcome from H.E. Yadir Salazar Mejía, the Colombian Ambassador to Germany, and H.E. Veronika Wand-Danielsson, the Swedish Ambassador to Germany. Both introduced the feature film with a few words and expressed gratitude to the audience for their presence. It is worth mentioning the presence of more diplomats, such as the ambassador of the Cheque Republic.

During the screening, the audience witnessed women's different roles in the Colombian conflict through their personal experiences. The 45 women who shared their stories were from various regions, from the Caribbean to the Amazonian foothills, from mountain ranges to plains, and from southwestern Colombia to the Pacific. These women, along with those who contemplate and reimagine these issues from major cities, spoke of their resilience in the face of sexual violence, cocaine, death threats, death itself, and fear.

In the 85-minute feature film, it became evident that Resolution 1325, the treaty that concluded the conflict, was not only a peace agreement but also one of equality. Thus, equality and peace are intertwined in this narrative and in achieving conflict resolution.

The film's main objective is to instill hope and assist women experiencing similar situations in finding their roles in various war scenarios on the international stage. Each scene portrays women from different regions connecting through shared experiences of pain, hardship, and survival, with a conviction that sharing their stories will pave the way for better future generations.

During the Q&A session following the film screening, María Paulina Riveros and Claudia Tribin answered several relevant questions for the current times.

When asked about the most significant achievements since the Truth Commission, Claudia, an exiled woman, emphasized the importance of acknowledging a Colombia outside of Colombia. She pointed out that half a million women remain displaced due to the conflict, and their stories have been told either verbally or in writing, and their stories have been immortalized in books.

María Paulina pointed out that integrating the gender perspective into the peace process was quite a challenge since neither the FARC nor the women themselves knew how to do it. Therefore, equality was not an annexe to the Peace Treaty but rather a relevant point throughout it. Furthermore, for the first time, people with different sexual identities were recognized as victims of the conflict.

The speakers were asked about the current challenges, what remains to be done, and how international collaboration can be improved.

Claudia pointed out that one of the biggest challenges is to continue facing sexual violence since, during the war, there were many cases. Still, after the war, it also continues to happen. She referred to macro case 11, which the JEP began on gender-based violence, including sexual and reproductive violence and other biased crimes.

María stressed the significance of not forgetting the progress made so far and not losing sight of it. She advocates for a gender-inclusive approach in all peace agreements and emphasizes the essential role of the international community in ensuring that success stories like Colombia's can be replicated in other communities facing similar conditions of war.

During the conversation between the two speakers, they agreed on women's vital role in the war. Whether they are women leaders, victims, combatants, or workers, each has a unique but essential contribution. Women often face rejection for breaking traditional gender roles when they fight in wars, as society has typically viewed war as a man's job. However, because of the societal expectations placed on women, they tend to have a better understanding and can raise awareness of conflict situations from a human perspective. Maria Paulina, the first female Plenipotentiary of the National Government at the Peace Negotiation Table between the National Government and the FARC guerrilla, set a precedent. For Maria, the existence of female leaders who inspire others is of utmost relevance. Together, women can be unstoppable in their fight for a better world.

Both Ambassadors emphasized the importance of continuing the fight for women's rights and not taking any backward steps. Without unity and support, achieving these milestones would be impossible. We must keep working.

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