• News

19 October 2023

An exchange of experiences and good practices between a Ukrainian delegation, Colombian civil society organizations and representatives of the governments of Canada and Colombia took place as one of the first actions of the “Justice, Gender and Peacebuilding” project in Colombia.


Last week, Lawyers without borders Canada’s office in Colombia launched its new project “Justice, Gender and Peacebuilding”, which aims to contribute to a greater exercise of the right to truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition of serious human rights violations, especially in contexts of armed conflict. This project, thanks to the support of the Canadian government, is based on the recommendations of the Truth Report (Informe de la Verdad) and findings of transitional justice, an extremely important process for Colombia and a source of inspiration for other nations.


This is the case in Ukraine, where civil society organizations have been mobilizing for more than a year to maintain the dignity of a nation that has been subjected to the brutalities of war. Jurfem, an association of Ukrainian women lawyers, is one of them.


Together with two government officials (Olena Sotnyk, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine and Anatolii Dosych, Referent of the Apparatus of the Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy of Ukraine), Jurfem Director Hrystyna Kit travelled to Colombia to meet with civil society organizations and representatives of the Canadian and Colombian governments.


Discussions were held with the Victims Unit, the Missing Persons Unit and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) – institutions that have played a fundamental role in transitional justice to guarantee the right to truth, reparation and non-repetition.


The Ukrainian delegation also met with civil society organizations to discuss the legal representation of victims from a gender perspective, and took part in a panel discussion on the achievements and challenges in preventing criminal atrocities as part of an event organized by Humanas. Lastly, they met with the embassies of Canada, Panama, Sweden, New Zealand, Chile, Romania and the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Hristyna drew many inspiring lessons and conversations from the visit:


“We have different judicial systems and the context of war affects us differently. In Colombia, the courts have different protocols and policies for dealing with cases of sexual violence, which is a very valuable experience for us. It is also very important for Ukraine to study Colombia’s experience in developing a system of reparation, as well as the creation and deployment of a register of people who have been victims of sexual violence. There is a large centre of victims/survivors, very well represented in the regions”.


– Hrystyna Kit, President of the Association of Ukrainian Women Lawyers “JurFem”.


For Lawyers Without Borders Canada, this visit reaffirms our commitment to working with civil society actors who are helping to strengthen access to justice and legal representation. This exchange on lessons learned from the peace process between Ukrainian lawyers and our Colombian partners is a good example of South-North cooperation and a concrete way of building paths towards peace and justice in Ukraine.



The “Justice, Gender and Peacebuilding” project is funded by the Government of Canada.  It will be implemented in the departments of Antioquia, Cesar, Chocó, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Santander and Valle del Cauca and will benefit people in vulnerable situations, in particular indigenous women and girls and people from diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The project will be implemented in collaboration with civil society organizations in Colombia.