Why do you believe you were finally released by the Colombian government after 40 months in jail?: First, the trade union movement, particularly the British union movement, carried out a big campaign following my arrest, because I was scheduled to participate at the TUC Conference and the Colombian government did not let me go. International solidarity was very important. Second, the political context of the peace process in Colombia and the legal framework adopted for the FARC to lay down its arms. It was untenable for them to continue holding me prisoner, accusing me of being a guerrilla fighter belonging to a group that no longer exists. Green Left Weekly
In the midst of the war, initially they regrouped in the semi-abandoned town of San José de Apartadó and later on a nearby estate which they renamed San Josesito. There, they continued with their project of a community of peace. They built new houses and planted beans, sugar cane, rice, cassava, maize, bananas and coco, and raised fish and pigs. [...] but since it decided to declare itself a civilian population outside of the conflict, the Community has suffered over 300 murders and over 1,000 attacks in the form of threats, as well as destruction of homes, burning of crops, mass displacements, sexual violence, [...] Javier Sulé Ortega, El País.
Jesus Adan Mazo, or “Molina,” has been killed after being attacked and shot by a group of armed men in the town of Ituango, near a FARC concentration zone. Mazo — whose involvement in the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was pivotal to the signing of the peace agreement — was shot at 1:00 am Monday morning while residing in a house near the Santa Lucia school in Antioquia. The demobilization of the FARC has led to the infiltration of right-wing paramilitaries in the void left in rural Colombia. Due to this, the numbers of displaced people has grown. TeleSur
Native Colombians have denounced violations of their rights, including land theft by armed groups and multinational corporations, despite the peace agreement that ended the conflict with the guerrillas of FARC. "Indigenous territories today continue to be disputed by paramilitary groups, the ELN, military forces, FARC dissident groups, drug traffickers, multinational corporations," said Luis Fernando Arias, senior advisor to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) ). At a ceremony in Bogotá, Arias stressed that "the horrible night for indigenous peoples has not stopped," despite the signing in November of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which was the continent's largest guerrilla organization. El Comercio
Despite the 2016 peace agreement, Colombia is witnessing increased numbers of displacement due to ongoing intense clashes. “Colombia sailed on the hope of the peace negotiations for four years, but that boat has for many people living in conflict zones docked. We can’t ignore the problem any longer,” said Christian Visnes, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Colombia. Norwegian Refugee Council.
As he arrived, former FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño, now the head of a new political party, issued an open letter to the Pope asking for forgiveness for the pain and suffering the group inflicted over five decades of war. "Your repeated expressions about God's infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears or pain that we have caused the people of Colombia," Londono, who goes by the alias Timochenko, said in the letter. Courier Mail
It is unacceptable to continue to deny the sistematicity of these terrible and evident facts. They show the persecution of the social movement in general and the lack of guarantees for social leaders throughout the country exercising their right to organize and mobilize. The Colombian government cannot continue to ignore this serious problem, that perpetuates the bloodshed and is a blow to democracy throughout the national territory. Tercera información
In Colombia, the military killed thousands of random people to boost its body count. The crimes are the basis of controversial discussion as the Constitutional Court decides how the transitional justice system will work. Deutsche Welle
In the category “Defender of the Year”, Enrique Chimonja from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, Adriana Arboleda from the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL), Caroline Rubio from the Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners(FCSPP) and Jorge Molano from the association DH Colombia have been nominated. Also, in the category “Collective Experience” the Campesino Association form the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS), the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL) and the Self-determination, Life and Dignity Community (CAVIDA), have been nominated. PBIColombia
New York, August 1, 2016--Colombian authorities should swiftly and credibly investigate threats against documentary filmmaker and activist Bladimir Sánchez Espitia and should ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sánchez told CPJ a man with a gun came looking for him in the early hours of July 30. The man came to a building that Sánchez often visits in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Bogotá at 2:30 a.m., Sánchez told CPJ. The journalist, who was not there at the time, told CPJ that multiple witnesses, including the building's security guard, told him the man had a gun and asked for him by name. The visit was the latest in a series of threats dating back to at least 2012, according to CPJ research.