Category Archives: Current affairs

Colombia: “Total Peace”

With the promise of establishing substantial changes in Colombia, based on social and environmental justice and a transformation of the security policy, recently inaugurated President Gustavo Petro, faces serious challenges at a time of increasing sociopolitical violence. According to 500 Colombian human rights organizations, the outgoing Iván Duque administration left a legacy of “hunger and war, which became systematic human rights violations, increased violence against leaders and human rights defenders,[1] a reactivation of the armed conflict, an expansion of paramilitary[2] and other armed groups, as well as the expansion of illicit use crops and cocaine production in the country. [3]

In this context, the new president stated that he will prioritize social dialogue[4] as a pillar to resolve the armed conflict, which has persisted over six decades in Colombia. He also highlighted the need to protect to communities and human rights to overcome the country’s historic inequalities. The Petro administration has declared that “Total Peace,[5] a law recently approved by Congress, will be a cornerstone of his policy to disarm all illegal armed structures, open negotiations with armed groups, bring criminal organizations before the justice system, and definitively end the conflict.[6] The “Total Peace” policy includes several proposals from “Somos Génesis, a network of over 180 ethnic-territorial communities, victims of the armed conflict, and who, since 2020, have been calling for the signature of Global Humanitarian Agreements and dialogue with the armed actors, allowing them to live in peace in their territory.[7] Unfortunately, these petitions were not addressed by the prior administration.

Continue reading Colombia: “Total Peace”

International Civil Society Organizations support Colombia’s call for a ceasefire

International Civil Society Organizations support the call in favor of the United Nations Global Humanitarian Agreement and UN Mission in Colombia’s call for a ceasefire and we ask for the protection of the lives of all vulnerable people in the midst of the pandemic

Bogota, April 3, 2020

The International Civil Society Organizations that subscribe to this communiqué identify in the unilateral ceasefire ordered by the ELN starting on April 1, 2020, and in the reactivation of the figure of the peace managers (gestores de paz) by the government of Ivan Duque, a possibility to return to the path of dialogue with this guerrilla group; a path which must be prioritized over any other.

Also, with great concern, we note and warn about the continuation of killings against people who defend peace and human rights, including those who signed the Final Peace Agreement with the Farc-Ep.

We also warn about the aggressions and effects caused by the presence of illegal armed groups which have led to, according to a MAPP OAS report, “confinements and forced displacements of communities in Alto Baudó (Chocó), Roberto Payán (Nariño), Algeria and El Tambo (Cauca), as well as harassments at police stations in Northern Cauca which put civilians at high risk.”* During the quarantine, eight people have been killed, three of them were in the process of reintegrating.

This is a time for, as the director of the UN Mission in Colombia says, consolidating efforts to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. The Colombian State must ensure that the measures taken to address the pandemic do not become a new factor that endangers and violates the rights of the country’s most impoverished people.

¡La Vida por encima de todo!

ECP

Contacts:

María Cristina Umbarila Chacón
Secretaria Técnica
Espacio de Cooperación para la Paz
Cooppaz2016@gmail.com

* https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/delitos/asesinatos-de-lideres-sociales-en-crisis-por- coronavirus-478400

PBI Colombia

Operation Dragon, 14 Years Later: A historic ruling and starting the path to achieve justice and truth

In August 2004, the Attorney General’s Office and the Technical Investigation Unit (CTI, in Spanish) discovered a series of official documents that detailed aspects of Operation Dragon, an illegal surveillance plan carried out against 170 people, with the alleged aim to assassinate human rights defenders, union leaders, and members of the political opposition in Colombia who opposed the privatization of the Empresas Públicas de Cali, EmCali[1]. After a long court case, on 22 January, 2019, the Fourth Specialized Court of Cali convicted three retired military members of simple and aggravated criminal conspiracy in the framework of this Operation[2]. Continue reading Operation Dragon, 14 Years Later: A historic ruling and starting the path to achieve justice and truth