Wilson Center Experts

Donny Meertens

Latin American Program

Contact Information:
T 202/691-4065 // F 202/691-4001
Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
Gender Equality
Women's Rights
Latin America
Associate Professor, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Women´s Access to Land under Colombia´s Victims Law: Practice and Theory of Transitional Justice, Gender and Development"
Sep 03, 2013
May 23, 2014

Donny Meertens, PhD in Social Science (Nijmegen University, The Netherlands), is a social anthropologist (MA University of Amsterdam), with a long research history in Colombia. Currently Associate Professor at Javeriana University (Bogotá, Colombia) in the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, she has been co-founder and Associate Professor in the School for Gender Studies, at National University of Colombia; Gender Adviser at UNHCR´s office in Colombia; UNIFEM’s (now UNWomen) Programme Officer on Peace and Security for the Andean Region; and Rapporteur on “Violent Land Seizures and Peasant Resistance” for the Historical Memory Group of the National Commission on Reparations and Reconciliation. Her current research topics focus on: gender and transitional justice (truth, justice and reparations); women and land rights; protection of women’s rights in forced internal displacement; gender and historical memory; access to justice for indigenous and peasant women.

Project Summary

The project aims at monitoring, from a gender equity perspective, the process of transitional justice measures the Colombian government is implementing through its Victims and Land Restitution Law (2011). Since October last year, this policy counts with a (cautiously) promising political context as Peace Talks were started between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla, addressing the agrarian question as the first issue to discuss on the agenda. This is a unique opportunity for addressing the many obstacles to full and equitable inclusion of women victims in the process of land restitution. How are these obstacles (informal land tenure; cultural entitlements; gender-based violence; tensions between transitional justice, ordinary justice and customary law) sorted out in practice? This question is of crucial importance for the debates on the transformative potential of transitional measures that seek to overcome structural (gender) discrimination and foster more inclusive (rural) development.

Major Publications

Sánchez, Gonzalo and Donny Meertens, 2001, Bandits, Peasants, and Politics: The Case of "La Violencia" in Colombia, University of Texas Press, Austin

Meertens, Donny and Margarita Zambrano, 2010, Citizenship Deferred: The Politics of Victimhood, Land Restitution and Gender Justice in the Colombian (Post?) Conflict, International Journal of Transitional Justice 4 (2): 189-206, July

Meertens, Donny, 2012, Forced Displacement and Gender Justice in Colombia: Between Disproportional Effects of Violence and Historical Injustice, http://ictj.org/our-work/research/transitional-justice-and-displacement

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