During 2016, there were three waves of assassinations and attacks against human rights defenders, opposition leaders and social leaders. These waves of political violence occurred against the backdrop of the peace process between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Yet while the negotiation tables moved forward in consolidating the outstanding agreements on the peace agenda, the whole country was witnessing an upsurge in the persecution of social leaders and human rights defenders.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has released its latest report on the human rights situation in Colombia, detailing the huge challenges facing the country in the midst of the peace process. While it praised the advances towards peace and the human rights guarantees included in the peace deal, the report stated that the peace agreement must be diligently implemented to combat structural human rights abuses in the country.
According to the report of Human Rights organizations, the mechanism was set up in order to deal with the serious situation of threats and risks against the lives of Human Rights defenders during these Christmas and New Year holidays.
According to the organization, after the signing of the first peace agreement in Cartagena (September 26, 2016) 13 out of the 57 murders that have been monitored in 2016 have occurred.
In a report presented to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination (CCEEUU) highlights that despite the positioning of a public agenda that references the rights of victims of the conflict and the peace process with guerrilla organizations, the violations of Human and Civil Rights in Colombia still persist in a systematic manner and the policies and legal provisions have not had the adequate or necessary levels of implementation.
Today, a lawsuit was filed before the Constitutional Court against the newly sanctioned police code; interposed by social organizations and some members of Congress who expressed that this new code is dictatorial and affects the human rights of citizens.
Although Colombia is increasingly closer to the signature of a Final Peace Agreement between the government and the FARC, human rights defenders continue to be targeted by threats and assassinations.
The figures have indeed increased this year compared to the same period of 2015, registering a total of 314 attacks, including 35 murders.
According to the latest report by the NGO Somos Defensores, between January and June 2016, 35 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia and 279 suffered some type of aggression. Of these, 232 were victims of threats, 21 attacks were committed against the lives of human rights defenders, 13 were victims of arbitrary detention, there are 9 cases of judicial processes, 3 were victims of strategic information theft and one defender has been denounced as disappeared in the Catatumbo.
Paramilitary groups are responsible for 68% of the denounced cases, while 22% have been perpetrated by unknown actors. The security forces of the State witnessed a 10% increase in attacks ascribed to the police, the army or the judiciary. Meanwhile, the Aguilar Negras (Black Eagles) paramilitary group, is responsible for 90% of threats against defenders in the last 5 years, and of many threats in the first half of the year.
Is This the End? is the title of a recently published report stating that "At the threshold of signing a peace agreement in Colombia, the rates of murders and attacks against human rights defenders continue to rise in contrast to the rapid decline of violent actions arising from the conflict. What is going on? Is this really the end of the conflict? Would violence against defenders end with the signature of the final agreement? And in addition, if the defenders are instrumental in building peace, how will this government guarantee their protection?"
Find the full report in Spanish here
Source: Prensa Rural
The national youth organization named “Juventud Rebelde” (Rebel Youth) has publicly denounced persecution against the organization on behalf of the Colombian Army on events that took place this past 25th of July in Tibú, municipality located in the Norte de Santander department.
Colombian prisoners in row 4 of the medium-security penitentiary and metropolitan prison complex in Bogota, La Picota have released a communique in which they inform “the national and international public opinion that on this day, July 19, we begin a peaceful and indefinite civil disobedience action”.