This past Monday at 1 am, unknown people arrived at the house of the president of the Communal Action Board of La Union, Alvino Rosero, and they assassinated him. The murder took place in area is one of the country's where the most illicit crops are planted, and this murder happens amid increases in plantation of coca leaf, the government pushing a program for crop substitution, and international concern the war on drugs. ¡PACIFISTA!
"Our firm resistance to acts and strategies of such criminal level has remained unbroken throughout these 20 years -- even if we've seen over 300 brothers, sisters and neighbors, our resistance has been our companion and we continue to be supported by people and communities from different countries of the world that are governed by ethical principles that seem incompatible with the iniquity of our State. We will be eternally grateful to them". El Tiempo
The majority of killings occurred in areas previously controlled by the FARC. The withdrawal of the FARC has increased the risk of violence for the communities in those areas. Illegal economic activities have increased, state authorities are not protecting the local population and numerous armed groups are competing for territorial control. Violence in these areas is also being facilitated by poverty, marginalisation and a lack of opportunities. Justice for Colombia
In this sense, they warn that the peace process is "losing credibility" to the perception of "certain degree of permissiveness of sectors of the Armed Forces and other State agencies regarding the actions of these armed groups." "The population in general, shows signs of despair due to the lack security and lack of effectiveness from the authorities. [...] The Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman's Office and the UNHCR have warned of the presence of armed groups and the occupation of the territories vacated by FARC when demobilized, which has triggered community confinements, forced displacement and threats. Colombia Plural
Dozens of human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia by gangs fighting for spoils and control since the nation ended its decades-old civil war late last year, the United Nations said on Thursday, urging better protection for activists. Community leaders who speak out against rights abuses are targeted by armed groups, often involved in drug trafficking and illegal gold mining, who see the activism as a threat, it said. The armed groups are moving into former rebel strongholds, fighting for territory and resources, the U.N. said. Thomson Reuters
During 2017 the Wounaans were forcibly displaced on two occasions. The first on February 12 in the protected zone of Santa Rosa de Guayacán (rural area of Buenaventura), when a group of armed men -- allegedly paramilitary, according to the community -- threatened them. On February 21 was the second time, when clashes between the army and ELN displaced members of the Chagpien Tordó (San Juan Litoral) reservation. The deplorable balance: at least 250 Indians are still crowded in the municipal head of Buenaventura, housed in the Center for Comprehensive Care for Youth (Caiju). The number of displaced people could be even higher, as more members are arriving every week. El Espectador
Adam Isacson publishes 8 things that stood out to me in the UN Commissioner's Human Rights Reports in Colombia.
1) One Human Rights Defender or Social Activist Was Murdered Every Three Days Last Year; 2) The FARC peace accord, and subsequent legislation, define “command responsibility” for war crimes in a way that doesn’t meet international standards; 3) Slow Progress in Holding the Military Accountable for Extrajudicial Killings Does Not Extend to the Highest-Ranking Commander; 4) The Colombian Government Erred Badly in Not Preparing the FARC Disarmament Zones in a Timely Way; 5) 75 Indigenous People Died of Malnutrition in the Corruption-Plagued Department of La Guajira, in Northeastern Colombia; 6) The FARC has been too slow in releasing child combatants within its ranks; 7) The Military’s Internal-Security Role Is Growing, Not Shrinking, in the Post-Accord Context; 8) Colombia’s Forced Displacement Crisis Isn’t Over Adam Isacson
"Semantics aside, the hard truth is that ever since a peace deal was signed in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there has been alarming spike in such attacks–particularly in rural areas. WOLA has been monitoring these cases closely, and is working with our partners to ensure that the Colombian government protect these activists from further threats, as well as to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these attacks. Below is a list of the incidents that have occurred since our last monthly update (see January and February’s updates). Together, we stand with our partners in Colombia in calling for justice." WOLA
Some 13 social organizations will appear in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to voice their concerns about the dangers that activists face in Colombia. The hearings will address issues such as the lack of guarantees of non-repetition in crimes against members of social organizations, and they will denounce the search for mechanisms of impunity for state agents in the framework of the peace negotiations between the guerrillas of FARC-EP and the national government. The organizations expect the IACHR to urge the State to investigate the murders of 120 leaders and human rights defenders that have taken place between January 1, 2016 and February 20, 2017. Contagio Radio
WOLA sponsored the a screening of the documentary “El río que se robaron” (The River They Stole) and a panel discussion with members of Colombian civil society on the rights and survival of the Wayúu indigenous people in La Guajira, Colombia. The documentary discusses the plight of the Wayúu, the largest indigenous community in Colombia.