Saturday 19 June 2021 - Sunday 31 October 2021
Colombian Truth Commission - Comisión de la Verdad
During the course of Refugee Week the Colombian Truth Commission in the United Kingdom is launching an Instagram Filter Campaign, and at the same time it is launching three podcasts and a video focusing on the truth faced by Colombian women in exile.
The Colombian Truth Commission was created following the 2016 peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Colombian Government. The Colombian Truth Commission works to clarify the truth of human rights violations and abuses committed by the security and armed forces, paramilitary forces and guerrilla groups and recognize the truth of what victims have experienced during Colombia’s internal conflict. It seeks to expose the collective responsibility not only of armed groups but also economic (national and international), political elites in the human rights crisis as well as the responsibilities of other sectors of Colombian society.
Hundreds of thousands of Colombians have been forced to flee into exile over decades of internal conflict. The Truth Commission is also working to ensure that the exile is recognized as one of the violations of the conflict. Exile was not a choice, leaving your family, friends or the land and landscapes which formed you to save your life is not a choice. Exile is not something you necessarily plan for and being forced to flee and change your life plans can happen in the blink of an eye. This is the focus of the Instagram Filter campaign we are asking people to click on the following links:
Open the Instagram Filter. Blink. Take a picture – you will see your face in a different background – that of Exile (Exilio) and you can add the following sentence: “Exile changes your life in the blink of an eye”. If you wish you could also record a short video on what you think exile is.
Send the picture to @NodosComisionVerdadC on Facebook and @ComisionVerdadUK/I and share your photos/videos with friends on social media and please tag #RefugeeWeek2021; @refugeeweek
We will collate photos on a mosaic which will be shown on several websites over the next few months (until the end of October 2021). With this initiative we are trying to confront negative stereotypes of what many in the UK think that exile is, and asylum seekers are. In conflict exile can happen to anyone, when least expected. The image that appears with the filter seeks to make participants reflect on the personal impacts on the refugee of having to abandon their lives (in this case in Colombia).
During the course of the work of the Colombian Truth Commission much effort has been made to bring to light, listen to and recognise the Truth of what women have faced during the conflict. Human rights violations and abuses committed by armed groups have often sought to send a message of control of a territory. Sexual violence and abuse, killings and threats against women are part of this reality, this form of violence represent an attempt by armed groups to demonstrate their territorial dominance or presence by exercising violent control over women. Violence against women is also carried out to squash the demands of women campaigning for their economic, social, cultural rights. So often women’s campaigns for rights clash with the social norms that armed groups seek to impose. It has been a difficult process. Sexual violence and other forms of violence have been severely under-reported and the demands for justice of women have been silence by mechanisms of impunity. Many women have had little choice but to flee into exile where their stories so often remain untold.
As a contribution to breaking this silence. Three podcasts (in Spanish) with Colombian women who have faced exile are being launched during Refugee Week together with a short video/poem (in Spanish. And English). These podcasts are based on several public conversations carried out in recent months as part of a series called “Dialogues with Inspirational Women Who Have Faced Exile” (“Diálogos - Mujeres Inspiradoras ante el Exilio”). You can find a link to these materials here: