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Colombia: Women at the frontlines, building peace in Colombia

Colombia - Chad - 23 July 2016 - 3:48pm
Source: UN Women Country: Colombia

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence Zainab Hawa Bangura, will visit Havana, Cuba, from 23-24 July. The UN representatives will join the event organized by the parties, which will publicly present the important achievements made by the Gender Sub-Commission composed of representatives of the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

After more than 50 years of armed conflict, the Government of Colombia led by President Juan Manuel Santos signed a bilateral cease-fire agreement with the FARC insurgency group in June 2016. While all agreements are still in draft form, the latest peace talks signal hope for a final agreement to be concluded in August, followed by a referendum. This is a critical moment for the women peacebuilders of Colombia, whose advocacy resulted in the establishment of a dedicated gender sub-commission with a mandate to ensure that gender perspectives and women’s rights are included in all agreements.

Spotlighting the voices of Colombian women peacebuilders

Bibiana Peñaranda de Sepúlveda is a peacebuilder from Buenaventura, Colombia, and a founder of a women’s network called “Red Mariposas de Alas Nuevas.” The network exposes incidents of violence against women, creates safe spaces for women to talk about their experiences and assists them in seeking justice and in rebuilding their communities. The network also examines how the war in Colombia exacerbated racism and machismo. “All the women in the network have experienced some form of violence,” said Ms. Peñaranda, in an interview with UN Women. The network offers hope to every woman who arrives defeated and tired by the war, she adds, “we say, ‘come on, together we will hold hands and move ahead’…we are transforming the concept of power.”

Nelly Velandia leads the National Association of Indigenous and Peasant Women of Colombia. She is one of 16 women who participated as gender experts in the historic Peace Talks taking place since October 2012 in Havana, Cuba, between the Government of Colombia and the FARC. As part of a delegation of women peacebuilders, she will be meeting with the gender sub-commission in Havana this week. Constant death threats from various illegal armed groups have not deterred Ms. Velandia’s determination to ensure that women take an active part in peacebuilding. “War is not only fought with bullets, war is also [about] the public policies against the interest of communities…”she says. “Society has to understand that if we don’t reduce women’s burden of domestic work and time poverty, we cannot move forward. And if [women] don’t move forward, economy moves backwards.”

Ms. Velandia’s voice is featured among six other Colombian women peacebuilders in the video series “1325: Mujeres resueltas a construir paz,” created by Lula Gómez as part of the “Overcoming violence against Women” programme by UN Women in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish Embassy in Colombia.

For more voices of Colombian women, see 1325: Mujeres resueltas a construir paz.

Colombia: Mentiras y desinformación: obstáculos para la refrendación de la paz

Colombia - Chad - 23 July 2016 - 9:43am
Source: Instituto Popular de Capacitación Country: Colombia

Expertos dicen que además de la refrendación, será clave que la ciudadanía pueda participar activamente al momento de implementar los acuerdos

El 18 de julio la Corte Constitucional aprobó el plebiscito por la paz como el mecanismo de refrendación a través del cual los colombianos dirán si ratifican o no los acuerdos de La Habana (Cuba), para la terminación del conflicto entre el Gobierno colombiano y la guerrilla de las FARC. La aprobación de lo pactado es un paso fundamental para que la implementación de los acuerdos tenga éxito, pero enfrenta varios desafíos.

Algunos de los obstáculos a superar son la desinformación y la deficiente pedagogía sobre el proceso de paz, la falta de legitimidad del mismo entre la población civil, y la arremetida de quienes se oponen a la negociación política con la insurgencia y, por ende, a la aprobación de lo pactado.

El asunto fue analizado el pasado 27 de abril en el auditorio Rafael Uribe Uribe de la Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana de Colombia—Unaula, durante el evento “MÁS DEBATE, MENOS CÁTEDRA: La refrendación de los acuerdos de paz en Colombia”, convocado por el Grupo de trabajo sobre “Cátedra de paz” de Unaula, en asocio con el Instituto Popular de Capacitación —IPC, el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo —PNUD, y el Colegio Mayor de Antioquia.

En este espacio pedagógico, Max Yury Gil, investigador y socio de la Corporación Región, explicó que el grave problema de legitimidad que tiene el proceso de paz dentro de la población, obedece a varios factores: “En primer lugar, el modelo de la mesa de negociación de adelantarse en La Habana, en un ambiente de confidencialidad, no ha permitido que la población sienta el proceso como muy cercano. En segundo lugar, creo que es normal que las sociedades experimenten procesos de polarización después de tantos años de guerra y de violencia. Pero también creo que en esto aportan de manera muy significativa los enemigos del proceso, que han rodeado de mentiras y han engañado a la población colombiana sobre lo que se está negociando y sobre los impactos que tendrá en el país”.

Desde que empezó el proceso de paz se hizo visible la polarización en el país entre sectores que respaldan o rechazan la negociación política con la insurgencia, estos últimos encabezados por el senador y expresidente, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, y su partido Centro Democrático. Al entrar el proceso en su recta final, y aproximándose el momento en que los colombianos refrendarán los acuerdos, esa polarización se recrudece.

El pasado 13 de mayo, el Procurador General de la Nación, Alejandro Ordóñez, uno de los principales opositores, envió una carta pública al presidente, Juan Manuel Santos, acusándolo de violar la Constitución con la decisión de elevar el Acuerdo Final entre el Gobierno y las FARC, a la calidad de “Acuerdo Especial” para que haga parte del bloque de constitucionalidad. Según Órdoñez, “Lo que su Gobierno está conviniendo con el grupo criminal de las FARC implica que la mesa de conversaciones de La Habana se reviste de poderes constituyentes, que ni el ordenamiento jurídico, ni el pueblo les han otorgado”.

En esa misma línea se expresó el senador Álvaro Uribe Vélez, el pasado 23 de junio cuando el Gobierno y las FARC firmaron el punto sobre el cese bilateral al fuego. En su discurso, Uribe manifestó: “La palabra paz queda herida por un Gobierno que ha engañado al pueblo y manipulado las normas jurídicas para cambiar la Constitución al antojo del grupo terrorista, que con aprobación oficial somete a las instituciones en lugar de someterse a ellas. Ubican esos acuerdos en el Bloque de Constitucionalidad con la osadía de que sean inmodificables, esto es, abusan de la Constitución y tiran la llave al mar con la pretensión de impedir futuros correctivos que deberán ser introducidos”.

ara el constitucionalista Albeiro Pulgarín, docente de derecho constitucional de la Universidad Nacional en Medellín y asesor de la constituyente de 1991, es falso lo que dicen quienes se oponen a la paz pues, según él, los puntos acordados están contenidos dentro de la Constitución de Colombia.

“Todos los acuerdos lo único que están haciendo es refrendar normas constitucionales. Si la comunidad leyera con cuidado los artículos 1, 2, 13, 16, 17, 40, 94, 95, 58, 59, 64, 228, 247 y 374 de la Constitución, concluiría que todo lo que se ha aprobado en los acuerdos está respaldado por la carta política vigente”, explicó el constitucionalista.

Por eso, Albeiro Pulgarín concluyó que esos discursos en contra de la paz representan “el abuso que hace la retórica bélica del analfabetismo de la comunidad, que no ha leído la constitución, pero si le dicen que la violó, repite que la violó”.

No obstante, las dificultades no responden únicamente a lo que dicen quienes se oponen a la paz, en parte obedecen a “la crisis de pedagogía que tiene el proceso y también a la deficiente información sobre lo importante que va a ser la sociedad colombiana y la institucionalidad (los estados locales, departamentales y el Estado-Nación), la implementación de los acuerdos”, opinó Carlos Iván Lopera, coordinador territorial en Antioquia del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo —PNUD, quien concluyó que se requiere mayor pedagogía.

A los obstáculos expuestos hasta ahora, se suma que el pasado 21 de julio, tres días después de que la Corte aprobara el plebiscito por la paz, se conoció una demanda del abogado Tomás Javier Oñate contra el fallo que dio vía libre a ese mecanismo de refrendación. El jurista pidió reevaluar las reglas del plebiscito, argumentando que la decisión de reducir el umbral de votación del 50% al 13%[i], “transgredió el ordenamiento constitucional y legal”[ii].

Participación debe trascender del plebiscito a la implementación

Según Carlos Iván Lopera, la refrendación es un paso muy esencial, pero se no puede caer en el sofisma de que la participación se limite a decir sí o no a los acuerdos de La Habana, pues “lo más importante, una vez firmados los acuerdos, es cómo los vamos a aplicar y cómo va a tener un alta participación la sociedad y la institucionalidad en esa implementación”.

Dicha participación implica mejorar aspectos como el conocimiento pleno de los acuerdos por parte de los ciudadanos y la cualificación de las organizaciones comunitarias para que puedan hacer campaña política y piensen con vocación de poder, anotó Lopera.

Y, tal vez lo más importante, es que haya “una transformación de lo que hemos llamado la estructura social para la implementación de los acuerdos, que es cómo ajustar la institucionalidad y cómo ajustarnos como instituciones para responder a nuevos retos. Por ejemplo, el tema de desarrollo rural, no lo podemos hacer con la estructura antigua del Estado”, explicó el funcionario del PNUD.

Concluye Lopera que “los procesos de paz se pueden diseñar muy bien, pero el reto grande es implementarlos bien”.

El plebiscito será entonces la puerta de entrada a esa etapa de implementación y construcción de la paz, que seguramente implicará para el país un nuevo escenario político con mayores exigencias sociales, una real apertura democrática y una verdadera inclusión social. De ahí la importancia de que la sociedad respalde el proceso refrendando los acuerdos de paz.

[i] En su decisión, la Corte estableció que el plebiscito deberá ser refrendado con al menos el 13% del censo electoral del país, esto quiere decir que el SÍ deberá sacar un mínimo de 4.396.625 votos. La Corte aclaró además que, de ser aprobado, este plebiscito tendrá un carácter vinculante para el Presidente de la República quien, en ese escenario, podría vincular los acuerdos a la Constitución. El plebiscito resultaría negativo en caso de que el SÍ no alcance el umbral mínimo, cercano a los 4,4 millones de votos, o sea superado por el no.

[ii] El Espectador, 2016, 21 de julio, “Demandan ante la Corte Constitucional fallo que avaló el plebiscito por la paz”, en El Espectador, edición nacional, sección Proceso de Paz, disponible en sitio Web: http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/demandan-corte-constitucional-fallo-avalo-el-plebiscito-articulo-644581

World: Communicable Disease Threats Report, 17-23 July 2016, Week 29

Colombia - Chad - 22 July 2016 - 10:05am
Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Country: American Samoa, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chad, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, French Polynesia (France), Ghana, Guinea, India, Kenya, Netherlands, New Caledonia (France), Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, World

The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats. This issue covers the period 17 - 23 July 2016 and includes updates on poliomyelitis, Zika virus, yellow fever, West Nile fever, influenzas A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) and Vibrio growth in the Baltic Sea.

Niger: Niger - Diffa: Access, Insecurity and Internal displacements (as of 20 July 2016)

Niger - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 9:35am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Chad, Niger

The security situation in south-eastern Niger continues to deteriorate due to a growing number of attacks by Boko Haram. Since the first Boko Haram attack on the Nigerien territory in February 2015 to date, several other incursions have been reported in the region. These attacks have caused the internal displacement of thousands of people. As a consequence, the humanitarian needs in the region have increased, in a context characterized by limited resources for an adequate response and by localized access challenges

Niger: Niger - Diffa: Access, Insecurity and Internal displacements (as of 20 July 2016)

Chad - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 9:35am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Chad, Niger

The security situation in south-eastern Niger continues to deteriorate due to a growing number of attacks by Boko Haram. Since the first Boko Haram attack on the Nigerien territory in February 2015 to date, several other incursions have been reported in the region. These attacks have caused the internal displacement of thousands of people. As a consequence, the humanitarian needs in the region have increased, in a context characterized by limited resources for an adequate response and by localized access challenges

Nepal: Nepal: Makwanpur District - Hetauda Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 7:02am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Ramechhap District - Manthali Municipality and Ramechhap Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:56am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Kavrepalanchok District - Panauti Municipality (As of 30 June 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:44am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Gorkha District - Palumtar Municipality (As of 29 June 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:35am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Okhaldhunga District - Siddhicharan Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:29am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Dhading District - Nilkantha Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:24am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Sindhupalchok District - Melamchi Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:19am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Kavrepalanchok District - Banepa Municipality (As of 6 July 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:11am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Kavrepalanchok District - Banepa Municipality (As of 6 July 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:07am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Dolakha District - Bhimeshwor Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 6:03am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Kavrepalanchok District - Dhulikhel Municipality (As of 29 June 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 5:59am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Kavrepalanchok District - Banepa Municipality (As of 29 June 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 5:55am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Nepal: Nepal: Dolakha District- Jiri Municipality (As of 30 May 2016)

Nepal - Maps - 22 July 2016 - 5:50am
Source: Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform – Nepal (HRRP) Country: Nepal

Angola: Situation Report Yellow Fever, 21 July 2016

Colombia - Chad - 22 July 2016 - 4:42am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Angola, Brazil, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Peru, Uganda

SUMMARY

  • In Angola, as of 15 July 2016 a total of 3682 suspected cases have been reported, of which 877 are confirmed. The total number of reported deaths is 361, of which 117 were reported among confirmed cases. Suspected cases have been reported in all 18 provinces and confirmed cases have been reported in 16 of 18 provinces and 79 of 125 reporting districts.

  • Mass reactive vaccination campaigns first began in Luanda and have now expanded to cover most of the other affected parts of Angola. Recently, the campaigns have focused on border areas.

  • Mass vaccination campaigns were completed in several districts in Benguela, Huambo,
    Huila, Kwanza Norte, Lunda Norte, Malange and Uige provinces. All districts continued with house to house immunization campaigns and routine vaccination.

  • For the last four weeks the national laboratory in the Democratic Republic of The Congo (DRC) has been unable to confirm or discard any suspected cases of yellow fever due to technical issues and corrective actions are underway. According to the latest available information (as of 11 July), the total number of notified suspected cases is 1798, with 68 confirmed cases (as of 24 June) and 85 reported deaths. Cases have been reported in 22 health zones in five of 26 provinces. Of the 68 confirmed cases, 59 were imported from Angola, two are sylvatic (not related to the outbreak) and seven are autochthonous.

  • In DRC, surveillance efforts have increased and vaccination campaigns have centred on affected health zones in Kinshasa and Kongo Central. Reactive vaccination campaigns started on 20 July in Kisenso health zone in Kinshasa province and in Kahemba, Kajiji and Kisandji health zones in Kwango province.

  • Two additional countries have reported confirmed yellow fever cases imported from Angola: Kenya (two cases) and People’s Republic of China (11 cases). These cases highlight the risk of international spread through non-immunised travellers.

  • Seven countries (Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea, Peru and Uganda) have reported yellow fever outbreaks or sporadic cases not linked to the Angolan outbreak.

  • Following the advice of the Emergency Committee convened on 19 May 2016, the WHO Director-General decided that urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and DRC are serious public health events which warrant intensified national action and enhanced international support. The events do not at this time constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

  • WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization reviewed existing evidence that demonstrates that using a fifth of a standard vaccine dose would still provide protection against the disease for at least 12 months and possibly longer. This approach, known as fractional dosing, will be implemented in a pre-emptive mass vaccination campaign in Kinshasa.

World: Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Situation Report, 21 July 2016

Colombia - Chad - 22 July 2016 - 4:35am
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Anguilla, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island (Chile), Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique (France), Mexico, New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners established a definition of what constitutes an outbreak, endemic transmission, and the interruption of mosquito-borne transmission in order to better characterize the level of transmission of Zika virus infection (Table 1, Fig. 2). This classification system was put into use as of the situation report of 7 July 2016.

  • As of 20 July 2016, 65 countries and territories (Fig. 1, Table 1) have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007 (62 of these countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2015):

    • 48 countries and territories with a first reported outbreak from 2015 onwards (Table 1).
    • Four countries are classified as having possible endemic transmission or have reported evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika infections in 2016.
    • 3 countries and territories have reported evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika infections in or before 2015, but without documentation of cases in 2016, or with the outbreak terminated.
  • No new country or territory has reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the week to 20 July 2016.

  • Eleven countries have reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, probably via a sexual route (Table 2).

  • One case of Zika virus infection, whose mode of transmission is currently being investigated, was recently reported in the United States of America. The case is a family contact of an individual who died in June. The blood samples of the deceased case were found to have high amounts of Zika virus, more than 100 000 times higher than what has been found in other samples of infected people.

  • The first documented case of female-to-male sexual transmission of Zika virus infection was reported in the United States of America on 15 July 2016.

  • As of 20 July 2016, 13 countries or territories have reported microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection or suggestive of congenital infection. Three of those countries reported microcephaly cases born from mothers with a recent travel history to Zika-affected countries in the WHO Region of the Americas (Table 3).

  • As of 20 July 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) reported nine live-born infants with birth defects and six pregnancy losses with birth defects with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection.

  • As of 20 July 2016, 15 countries and territories worldwide have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and/or laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus infection among GBS cases (Table 4).

  • Based on research to date, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and GBS.

  • In Guinea-Bissau, on 29 June 2016, Institute Pasteur Dakar (IPD) confirmed that four of 12 samples tested positive for Zika by PCR. All 12 samples tested negative against IgM Zika. Four additional samples were sent to IPD on 1 July for gene sequencing and the results are still pending.

  • The government of Guinea-Bissau with support from the WHO Country Office (WCO) is demonstrating strong leadership in response to these findings. The WCO has availed funds to support the logistical needs of the response activities. A multidisciplinary assessment mission to Guinea-Bissau is planned for the last week of July and will support the investigation of the outbreak and assess the level of preparedness in Guinea-Bissau.

  • The global Strategic Response Framework launched by WHO in February 2016 encompasses surveillance, response activities and research. An interim report4 describing some of the key activities being undertaken jointly by WHO and international, regional and national partners in response to this public health emergency was published on 27 May 2016. A revised strategy for the period of July 2016 to December 2017 was published on 17 June.

  • WHO has developed advice and information on diverse topics in the context of Zika virus. 6 WHO’s latest information materials, news and resources to support corporate and programmatic risk communication and community engagement are available online.

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