Implementing peace was always going to be harder than negotiating it. But in the three months since Colombia’s Congress endorsed a deal to end more than 50 years of conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's fragile peace process has already been put to a chilling test. Since Dec. 1 of last year, at least 20 social activists and community leaders have been killed in mostly rural areas across the country in what analysts say is an effort by paramilitary groups to suppress the implementation of the accords.“The current situation is extremely fragile,” Kristian Herbolzheimer, an analyst at London-based peace-building consultant Conciliation Resources, told AQ via email. “Powerful sectors remain opposed to the peace process.” America's Quarterly.
Hanging over the country is the memory of another peace deal and another massacre 30 years ago. Around 3,000 members of the leftwing Unión Patriótica were murdered, effectively sinking that agreement and leaving a deep scar on the national psyche. [...]
“Ultimately the problem is one of time, and a question of who has more initiative. While the government forces are adapting to the new situation, armed groups are in an atmosphere conducive to growing their thriving illegal businesses,” the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation said.
“Either everything that sounds so good on paper must be put into practice, or it will be too late for many areas, where a new enemy is lurking.” The Guardian
Despite donations of more than US$ 2,000 million received by La Guajira in less than 30 years, most of the indigenous people live in absolutely inhuman conditions: lacking water, food, health services, transportation, education, justice and democracy, if we take into consideration that democracy has been kidnapped by gigantic and powerful criminal gangs.
I am convinced that you would be the first one astonished to know with certainty that the world's greatest extermination by hunger is occurring now, ironically, in the only country on the planet governed by a Nobel Prize winner. Gonzalo Guillén Semana
Report on human rights violations in Colombia since the beginning of the bilateral ceasefire with FARC. The Human Rights Commission of Marcha Patriotica compiled reports of violence against social leaders since the beginning of the bilateral and definitive cease-fire between the Colombian State and FARC. This report documents the cases between August 29, 2016 and January 29, 2017: 317 violations of human rights were identified by groups related to the paramilitary organizations. Marcha Patriótica
We cannot forget the past that threatens to repeat itself: The tragedy of the systematic murder of so many people committed to social and political change which as know well must be carried out. All leaders in the region are need to become aware of these situations and together search for solutions.Monsignor Hugo Alberto Marín, Apartadó February 3, 2017.Las 2 Orillas
In his January report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed progress in the peace talks, but expressed concern about impunity and the human rights impact of the conflict, especially on Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and human rights defenders. Although the report noted that all the warring parties were responsible for human rights abuses and violations, it stated that paramilitaries (referred to as “postdemobilization armed groups linked to organized crime”) represented “the main Amnesty International Report 2015/16 127 public security challenge”. In August, the CERD Committee noted that the armed conflict continued to have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities and criticized the failure to ensure the effective participation of these communities in the peace process. The UN Committee against Torture expressed concern over “the persistence of grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the State party” and the fact that “it has not received information concerning criminal trials or convictions for the offence of enforced disappearance." Amnesty International
Cerón Gómez is the 20th social leader killed in the almost 80 days since the implementation of the peace agreements between the government and FARC began. This means that every four days a community leader has been killed throughout the country. Most of the killings, six of them, have taken place in Cauca. Three have been killed in Antioquia and Cesar. Human rights defenders have also been murdered in Córdoba, La Guajira, Bolívar, Atlántico, Putumayo, Chocó and Valle del Cauca. Pacifista!
"At the level of the ethnic groups, we need to adapt our institutions in ways that make it possible to implement directly with afro-descendants matters related to the Development Plan with a Territorial Approach, which deals with the incorporation and political participation of former combatants who are also members of ethnic groups," writes Daniel Garces, also warning about the void that exists in terms of political representation of Afro-Colombians in the nation's Congress, because of the current vacancy of two seats allocated by way of Law 70 in the House of Representatives". Colombia Plural
During 2016, the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) recorded 216 violations to freedom of the press that translated into 262 victims. This represents an increase of 47 percent compared with 2015. In general, the pressures, threats, obstacles and aggressions multiplied. According to the organization, during the past year, there were 47 physical aggressions, 44 obstructions of journalistic work and 90 threats against the press. This last figure represents an increase of 52.5 percent compared with 2015. Journalism in the Americas.