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!
"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
None of the people I have spoken to trust the State because it has been strongly linked to the paramilitaries. The state at large should take a look in the mirror to understand which state policies are providing incentives for paramilitarism and who are the officials participating in these armed groups. If this is not done, the problem will remain and the ranks of the missing will continue to grow. El Espectador
The three most prevalent human rights problems in the country were impunity, forced displacement, and societal discrimination. An inefficient justice system, with a judiciary in which officials were subjected to threats and intimidation, limited the government’s ability to prosecute effectively many individuals accused of human rights abuses, including high-level state agents and former members of paramilitary groups. The presence of drug traffickers, guerrilla fighters, and other illegal armed groups continued to displace predominantly poor and rural populations. Violence and societal discrimination against women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; indigenous persons; and Afro-Colombians often restricted the ability of these groups to exercise their rights. Full State Department Report here.
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
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
Not only did voters reject the original peace agreement, there has also been a significant increase in violence targeting left-wing activists and community leaders. Since the ratification of the final accord on November 29-30, 2016, right-wing paramilitaries and local drug gangs have assassinated twenty-four social leaders, and sixteen since the beginning of this year alone. The new wave of violence has even reached the streets of the country’s capital Bogotá, where recent bomb attacks targeting restaurants, protesters, and the police force try to undermine the legitimacy and validity of the peace process. Jacobin