It has been an exciting year and a half accompanying human rights defenders in Colombia with the eyes of the world focused on the country emerging out of decades of violent conflict. Continue reading Challenges facing Colombia: reflections from the field
Whilst the negotiations in Havana continue with the promise of a signed agreement between the Farc and the governmnet, the country is preparing itself for a new and unknown phase, peace in Colombia. Continue reading Campesinos discuss the challenges they face to achieve peace in Colombia
According to the Small-scale Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley-National Agro-ecological Network (ACVC-RAN), there have been 18 extrajudicial executions in the Small-scale Farmer Reservation Zone (ZRC). These cases were first assigned to the military justice system, but were eventually transferred to the ordinary justice system, in particular to the Human Rights Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The case of Miguel Angel Gonzalez Gutierrez, who was the son of Miguel Angel Gonzalez Huepa, one of the ACVC’s founders, remains in complete impunity. Gonzalez Gutierrez was murdered in January 2008, buried in an unnamed grave and presented as a guerrilla killed in combat by the 14th Brigade of the Army’s Seventh Division. His father found out about his son’s death in prison, during his detention under charges of rebellion.
With regards to the risks of working on the ZRCs, Yenly Mendez, a member of the ACVC says, “the State itself has expressed that even if [the ZRC] is a legal figure which is contemplated in Colombian national legislation, these areas are in the hands of the guerrillas. This stigma means that the organisations and communities which lead ZRC processes are persecuted”.
On 30 January 2015, in El Porvenir, young Jaminton Andres Avila, the leader of El Porvenir Community Action Board and delegate to the roundtable Mesa Comunal de la Vida Digna of El Porvenir, was murdered. El Porvenir is inside the Cimitarra River Valley ZRC.
 This number corresponds to events which have taken place since 2004. Extrajudicial executions are a practice in which members of the Security Forces kill civilians and present them as guerrillas killed in combat.
 PBI Colombia: Interview with ACVC members, February 2010
 As well as being the son of one of the ACVC’s founding members, he was a member of the Puerto Nuevo Ite Community Action Board and of the Corporación Acción Humanitaria por la Convivencia y la Paz del Nordeste Antioqueño (Cahucopana) an organisation which works closely with the ACVC
 Verdad Abierta: Falsos positivos. Una herida que sigue abierta, 23 April 2015
 PBI Colombia: Entrevista: Las Zonas de Reserva Campesina: un escenario de Proceso de Paz, 20 October 2015
 Agencia Prensa Rural: Asesinan a Jaminton Ávila, líder comunal de la Zona de Reserva Campesina del Valle del Río CimitarraAsesinan a Jaminton Ávila, líder comunal de la Zona de Reserva Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra, 1st February 2015
Campo Bijao is situated in the municipality of Yondó (Magdalena Medio), an area we travel to regularly from the field team in Barrancabermeja. Continue reading Trip to Campo Bijao
The Serranía de San Lucas, spread between Antioquia and Bolivar, has been trapped within the horrors of a never-ending armed conflict. This corner of Colombia has witnessed massacres, displacements and violence for so many years that war scars are etched into the countryside and into the stories and memories living in the people of these forgotten lands.