2001: Women’s resistance in Barrancabermeja

The Grassroots Women’s Organisation (Organización Femenina Popular – OFP) was accompanied by PBI from 1995 to 2012. The OFP has been organising, training and mobilising women for 47 years, turning them into human rights defenders and project leaders living dignified lives with their families.

We accompanied the organisation during the paramilitary takeover of the city of Barrancabermeja, which began in December 2000, and during the increase in threats against human rights organisations in the city, including some really difficult times which they talk about in this video.

The organisation was founded in 1972 by the Catholic Church in the in the city of Barrancabermeja in the Magdalena Medio region. This region was characterised by the high profile struggles of the oil company trade union and by rural demonstrations led by Colombian migrants who arrived at the port city on the Magdalena River to look for a way to make a living[1]. In 1988, the OFP became independent from the church. At that time, the organisation’s work focused on projects related to sexual and reproductive health, housing, food and grassroots women’s leadership[2]. In May 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted the OFP precautionary measures so that measures would be taken to protect the life and personal integrity of the organisation’s members.

Today the OFP is a network of some 3,000 people in civil resistance to the war, and against the continued killings, which have for a long time destroyed lives and communities in this area of the Magdalena Medio region, in the centre of the country[3].


PBI Colombia


[1]Organización Femenina Popular”, National and International Campaign for the right to defend human rights in Colombia, 2010

[2] Ibid. 1.

[3] “Una Colombia que nos queda”, Fundación Mujer y Futuro, November 2007

**Video realized by Javier Bauluz and produced thanks to the support the International Cooperation Agency of Extremadura for the Development (AEXCID)


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