The sexual and reproductive rights of internally displaced women: the embodiment of Colombia's crisis

Disasters. 2008 Mar;32(1):131-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2007.01031.x.


As of 30 June 2006, more than 3.5 million Colombians are internally displaced persons (IDPs), the second largest IDP population in the world after that of Sudan. While most IDP studies treat the plight of internally displaced women (IDW) as an isolated phenomenon, this paper demonstrates that their situation reflects Colombia's chronic cultural, political and socio-economic crisis. This paper uses a sexual and reproductive rights framework to establish a connection between IDW and Colombia's culture of violence, discrimination and inequality. The effects of this culture of violence, discrimination and inequality are highlighted during a discussion of the rights to health, reproduction, privacy, physical integrity, education, and freedom from violence and sexual exploitation. This paper argues that a holistic understanding of Colombia's humanitarian emergency is essential to improving the lives of IDPs. It ends with some concrete, short-term recommendations to meet some of the needs of IDPs and other vulnerable populations.

MeSH terms

  • Colombia
  • Culture*
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons
  • Prejudice*
  • Refugees*
  • Reproductive Rights*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Violence