Posts Tagged ‘FARC’

Colombia: 2017 marks one year of peace effort but human rights defenders still suffer

December 31, 2017

The Bogotá Post of 24 November 2017 summarizes the situation in the following rather factual manner: “One year since the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, and – as was to be expected – there have been a number of ups and downs in post-conflict Colombia. But while there are plenty of challenges, there are also a lot of people throughout the country working to address them.”  Re the killing of activists it says:  “The October protest violence in Tumaco was a reminder of the ongoing turbulence in the troubled region, which has the highest amount of coca production in the country. It highlighted both the issues surrounding forced coca eradication and the increased presence of armed groups and paramilitary activities as rival gangs compete to fill the vacuum left by the FARC. CINEP, a peace NGO, identified the presence of Clan Úsuga, Clan del Golfo, Clan Pacífico, La Empresa, Gaitanistas, Gente del Orden, Cártel de Sinaloa and Guerrillas Unidas del Pacífico in the region this year. A number of national and international NGOs have expressed serious concern about the killings of social activists and community leaders. On November 17 the UNHCR expressed growing concern about the increase in murders and threats. According to their figures, there have been 78 deaths this year and 13 suspected murders. In addition, at least 1,500 people have been displaced by threats and violence in 2017, although the report says the number may be higher because people are afraid to report abuses.

What’s being done? A landmark constitutional reform to prohibit neo-paramilitarism has been approved by congress, and recent military strikes targeting these groups have been successful in capturing some of their most influential leaders. Although steps to indict those responsible for killing social leaders have been made (54 indictments so far, according to President Santos), more long-term measures are needed. To that end, the government has established a national commission for security guarantees, but it has been slow to respond to the increasing dangers in affected regions.”

TeleSur reported on 21 December that “earlier today a community leader in Puerto Colombia, Putumayo was murdered along with his eight-year-old daughter. Pablo Oviedo was walking with his daughter and both were ambushed by a group and shot multiple times. The two were rushed to San Francisco de Asis Hospital in Puerto de Asis and declared dead.

Oviedo’s two brothers who are involved in the Human Rights Network in southern Colombia were also declared missing. The tragic death of father and daughter occurred hours after Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas had participated in security council meeting with the purpose of addressing the violence in the southwestern city of Mocoa. Social leaders present at the meeting wore masks to cover their faces in an attempt to avoid being swept away in the wave of violence.”

At least the UK Parliament took notice with “Early day motion 718”: ‘That this House notes with concern the increased risks faced by human rights defenders and community leaders in Colombia since the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, and in particular the recent killings of land restitution leaders, Mario Castaño Bravo and Hernán Bedoya; is deeply disturbed that according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 78 defenders have been killed in the first 11 months of this year; further notes the vital importance of the work of human rights defenders in Colombia, and elsewhere; and calls on the Government to strengthen its efforts, bilaterally and through the EU, to protect human rights defenders and civil society leaders in Colombia, and to support and monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC.”

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22215&LangID=E

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/15/jorge-molano-from-colombia-laureate-of-2015-lawyers-for-lawyers-award/

and

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/01/06/latin-america-philippines-most-dangerous-places-for-human-rights-defenders/

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https://thebogotapost.com/2017/12/04/pieces-of-peace/

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Murder-of-Colombian-Social-Leader-Highlights-UN-Condemnation-20171221-0020.html

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/718

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-human-rights-casualties/colombia-rights-activists-facing-danger-u-n-says-idUSKBN1EE2TQ

New Death Threats to Human Rights Defenders aim to weaken Colombia’s peace process

September 25, 2014

Two weeks ago I referred to reports about efforts to destabilise the Colombian peace process [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/death-threats-to-human-rights-defenders-linked-to-peace-process-in-colombia/]. Now new threats have been made public – hard to imagine by coincidence – on the eve of the September 22 reopening of negotiations in Havana. Nine human rights defenders in Colombia have been declared “military targets” by criminal group Los Rastrojos.

The latest list includes Marco Romero, director of human rights NGO Codhes who also forms part of the National University of Bogota’s team accompanying the peace process. Also on the list were Leon Valencia and Ariel Avila of NGO Paz y Reconciliacion, and Luis Emil Sanabria of NGO Redepaz.

A pamphlet labeled the nine on the list “guerrilla bureaucrats and human rights defenders dressed as civilians,” appearing to accuse many of them of having links to guerrilla group the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), before stating, “Los Rastrojos reserve our right to continue in the struggle for a country free of slags like you, the only thing you do is cheat people, teaching them communist doctrines against our ideas and the responsibilities of the country in favor of the most needed class.

For Luis Emil Sanabria, the threats issued by the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras only serve to prove that the paramilitary demobilization process of 2006 was an abject failure, demanding a full disarmament process as part of any effective post-agreement phase of the peace negotiations ongoing in Havana: “This effort made by the Colombian government and the FARC, and other guerrilla groups to advance a peace process must bring us to the full deactivation of all of the armed actors, including the criminal groups (a term used by the government for post-2006 paramilitary groups),  including the drug traffickers and of course including the guerrillas groups,” Sanabria told teleSUR.

New Death Threats to Human Rights Defenders Latest Attack on Colombia’s Peace Process | News | teleSUR.