An American University research group, together with the Fundación Afrodescendiente por las Diversidades Sociales y Sexuales [Afro-descendant Foundation for Social and Sexual Diversity] (Somos Identidad [We Are Identity]), are documenting the violence threatening the lives and [physical] integrity of Afro-Colombians due to their sexual orientation or diverse gender identity.
With support from the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) within the framework of the research project undertaken by Race & Equality and seven other organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean in pursuit of the objective of documenting the state of the rights of Afro and LGBTI persons’ rights in the region, Somos Identidad, in partnership with a research group from the American University Washington College of Law, is documenting and analyzing the political-legal context in which Afro-Colombians’ diverse sexual orientations and gender identities are immersed, with a particular consideration of those aspects that guarantee or make it impossible for these groups of people to fully enjoy their fundamental rights.
According to Johana Caicedo, the legal representative of Somos Identidad, Colombia is one of the countries in the region that has taken the greatest legislative strides in the area of the LGBTI and Afro-descendant populations’ rights. Nonetheless, no legislative work exists at the intersection of these two variables to guarantee and safeguard the rights of Afro-LGBTI persons. While legislation exists, its materialization in guaranteeing rights remains weak and this tends to have a profound effect on the enforceability of the rights of this group of people that has been structurally and historically marginalized, added Caicedo.
During the days the Afro-Colombian organization of the Universidad del Valle del Cauca [Cauca Valley University] and American University research group worked together the last week in February and first week of March 2019, they met with sexually diverse black/Afro individuals in Cali; held various encounters with activists [and] representatives of Afro and LGBTI social organizations such as Santa María Fundación [Saint Mary Foundation]; and hosted spaces for dialogue with representatives of governmental entities such as the Ministry of Government of the Cauca Valley, Cali Mayor’s Office, and the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Nation.
We expect this research material will contribute to the creation of a map of the state of the Afro-LGBTI population’s rights in Colombia and its consolidation as an advocacy tool in the Inter-American System on behalf of this group of individuals.