Yolanda Becerra Vega
Yolanda Becerra Vega is a Colombian human rights defender and peace activist. She has been a member of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) since 1980, and is currently its National Director. Yolanda has dedicated her life to struggles for the defense of territory, human dignity, and peace. As a leader in the women’s movement, she inspired the “Social Movement of Women against the War and for Peace”, an expression of the grassroots social and rural movements in the region of Magdalena Medio, which along with other women’s movements in Colombia advocated for the participation of women in the recent peace process and accords.
Yolanda has worked for more than 30 years shoulder-to-shoulder with grassroots women and men in the midst of war and in the presence of armed actors – state, paramililtary and guerrilla – in a region where the disparity between rich and poor is extreme, and serious human rights violations are common. For this work she has been recognized nationally and internationally.
Yolanda also suffered political persecution, gender based discrimination, and sexual violence, during the war. Yet, despite these threats, she was able to lead the OFP in a process of collective reparations as a means to reconstruct the organization’s identity, and the social network and peace in territories and communities. Currently, she is leading initiatives including the construction of a Museum of Memory and Human Rights for Women and the development of a Women’s Agenda for Territory and Peace.
KAIROS has worked in partnership with Yolanda Becerra and with the OFP, which has spent 46 years resisting violence and defending life, for more than 15 years. Together we have built the KAIROS Women of Courage Program which seeks to increase the participation of women in peace and development processes and in defense of human rights. The work the OFP is emblematic of this program.
Yolanda and OFP Youth Delegate, Kelly Johana Campo, will participate in two events in Montreal at the end of April: the International Colloquium of the Responsibility of Memory: Social and theoretical perspectives on Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in the Americas, April 25-26, 2018; and the International Gathering ¨Women’s Struggles for Defense of the Land: Feminist Resistance and Solidarity Against Extractivism¨ April 27-30, 2018. Stay tuned for further information on the OFP visit and these upcoming International events!