Update: 10/3/16,  Colombia Plunged Into Uncertainty As Voters Narrowly Reject Peace Deal With FARC Rebels

Opponents of the pact believed it was too soft on the rebels by allowing them to re-enter society, form a political party and escape traditional jail sentences.


BOGOTA, Sept 28 "The peace deal makes it clear that sexual violence is not up for amnesty"

BOGOTA, Sept 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Under a newly-signed peace deal to end Colombia's war, women who have been raped by military forces or rebel fighters may expect to have the crimes against them investigated by a special unit.

The accord between the government and rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) also pledges to improve access to land for women farmers through a land bank and subsidies.

And seeks to encourage rural women to move away from growing coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, by providing creches and other kinds of support.

It's unlikely such provisions would be in place had women been excluded from the peace talks but their role in the process has led to an unprecedented focus on women's rights in the final deal, setting a strong example for others, analysts said.

"Colombia has raised the bar in terms of women's direct and indirect participation in a peace process," said Miriam Coronel Ferrer, the Philippine government's chief peace negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim rebel group.

"It's a good model to inspire other countries. Excluding women hurts a peace process," she told the Thomson



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