Archivo de ‘Peace and Human Rights’



Farc tells Santos he must keep his promises

Martes, junio 24th, 2014

A week after Colombians reelected Juan Manuel Santos to a second presidential term, the Farc guerrilla expressed its optimism in regards to an eventual peace accord and demanded that Santos keep the promises made throughout his campaign.

With a statement posted on the Farc’s negotiating committee webpage, the group expressed joy over how “differences are forgotten among Colombians when they hug as they watch their soccer team play”, referring to the national team’s performance at the World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile they reminded the president that he promised to sign peace with Colombia’s guerrilla groups, which could improve social investment in heath and education.

Government begins process with Eln

Martes, junio 10th, 2014

The Colombian National Government announced that it’s been engaged in exploratory talks with the Eln guerrilla since last January and has already reached agreements in terms of two of the issues that will be included in the talks’ agenda.

“The goal of this exploratory phase is to agree on an agenda and design the process that will make the end of the armed conflict possible, as well as the construction of stable long-lasting peace for Colombia,” the Government said. The items agree to are victims and society’s participation in the peace process, but remaining issues have yet to be defined.

The exploratory phase with periodic updates for the public.  According to Piedad Cíordoba, the process will take place in a country that has not yet been disclosed. Guarantors will likely be Venezuela, Brazil, and Cuba.

Four policemen dead in attack

Martes, junio 3rd, 2014

Four police officers were killed and one more was injured in a surprise attack perpetrated by the guerrilla on the road that connects the urban area of Saravena to El Pescado, in the Mateplátano region. Officers had been patrolling the area when they were caught off guard by an explosion; the injured man is being treated at a nearby hospital as authorities remove the fatal victims from the site.

The attack took place near a school where dozens of children were in class at the time; a nearby home also suffered material damages. There is heavy police and military presence in the area and the press has not been allowed access.

Farc and Eln begin cease fire

Martes, mayo 20th, 2014

The Farc and Eln guerrillas began a unilateral cease fire that will be in effect until next May 28th and will run parallel to the first round of presidential elections. The truce began at midnight on Tuesday and as of yet there have been no reports of attacks by the guerrillas. The most recent incidents related to guerrilla violence took Monday when authorities confiscated explosives found in Cauca, that allegedly belonged to Farc. There was also an explosion reported in a pipeline located in Orito, in the department of Putumayo, also perpetrated by Farc; it was the third attack targeting this location in three days.

Farc and the Eln announced an “electoral cease fire in a joint statement read by negotiating guerrilla members in Havana by both groups. “We are ordering all our units to cease any kind of offensive military action against the State’s Armed Forces (…)”, the statement read.

Overwhelming percentage of displaced are in Colombia

Miércoles, mayo 14th, 2014

The forced displacement of people in Latin America continues to happen, and the problem seems to be more pressing in Colombia, despite the ongoing peace process, as well as Mexico and Honduras due to organized crime. This according to data revealed today by the United Nations and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

In Latin America the number of displaced citizens reaches six million according to the most recent data, with an overwhelming 5,5 million in Colombia. Research by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center of the NRC found there were 156,918 new cases of forced displacement reported in the country last year.

In Colombia, where the phenomenon dates back to 1960, it’s calculated that 12 percent of the population is displaced, a situation caused mainly by armed conflict between guerrillas and government security forces, and direct threats against individuals and communities. Other influential factors are the forced recruitment of minors, sexual violence, the use of anti-personnel mines, extortion and attacks against human rights activists.

On a global scale, the report revealed that 63 percent of the world’s displaced are from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. In 2013, the average time a person spent living as a displaced person was 17 years.

Police changes name of ‘los Urabeños’

Viernes, abril 25th, 2014

The director of the National Police, General Rodolfo Palomino, said the criminal gang known until now as ‘los Urabeños’ will from now on be referred to as the “Usuga David Clan”. This came in response to a request made by President Santos, who asked authorities to change the name they used to refer to the gang because it stigmatizes the hardworking, honorable people of the Urabá region.

De la Calle says talks have stuck to the agenda

Miércoles, abril 23rd, 2014

Before the Government’s negotiating committee left for Cuba to resume talks with the Farc guerrilla, head negotiator Humberto De la Calle denied that that there have been any discussions based on topics that weren’t originally on the agenda.

“We are moving towards reaching agreements on the third topic of discussion which has to do with finding a solution to illegal crops. But we are in the middle of political campaigns and it is my duty to alert people about false statements circulating in regards to what’s being discussed in Havana, just to create an atmosphere of negativity towards talks and scare Colombians of negative consequences.”

We have an agenda, De la Calle said, “and we are adhering to it and will not negotiate in regards to the Military Forces nor will we talk about anything that’s not on the agenda.” He also insisted that all Colombians will have the chance to read every word of every single agreement reached by the Government and Farc, and it is they who will have the final say in terms of these agreements and whether or not they are implemented.

Meanwhile retired General Jorge Enrique Mora echoed De la Calle’statements and said there has not been any type of discussion in terms of the Armed Forces, because4 it’s not an issue listed on the agenda; he also said he has no intention of resigning from the negotiating committee, as had been rumored.

Authorities are unaware of gangs’ initiative to negotiate

Lunes, abril 14th, 2014

An alleged initiative by members of the ‘la Oficina de Envigado’ and ‘los Urabeños” criminal gang to engage in talks with the Government is unknown to authorities and people close to mediation processes in Medellín. The Police Department, the Mayoralty of Medellín, and the Catholic Church have all denied having any type of contact with the members of groups that for the past four years have been engaged in violent territorial disputes and are the culprits behind acts of murder, extortion, kidnapping, and micro-drug trafficking.

According to Jaime Jaramillo Panesso, commissioner in reconciliation processes, the rumor has been going around for a few months, “but the truth is that there hasn’t been clarity because, until now, the Government has reiterated that criminal organizations only have the option to turn themselves in to authorities, as they are not participants in the armed conflict and therefore can’t benefit from a demobilization process.”

The Police Department made a similar statement, and said it’s unaware of a pact among groups known as the “rifle pact”. Colombia’s Justice Minister Alfonso Gomez Mendez, ruled out the possibility of negotiating with these gangs and said “nothing in terms of their willingness to surrender has been communicated.”

The Archdiocese of Medellín also denied claims that Archbishop Ricardo Tobֶón has been communicating with members of said gangs to facilitate negotiation with the Government.

However, a number of activist groups and even the Archbishop said it would be positive to support some type of initiative that would encourage these illegal groups to abandon criminal activity, reincorporate themselves into society, and reconcile with their victims.

President says all victims can’t be compensated at once

Miércoles, abril 9th, 2014

President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday that the State has made a “monumental” effort to compensate all victims of the armed conflict, but that the Government doesn’t have the ability to take care of all of them at once.

“A monumental institutional and financial effort has been made, an effort recognized by the entire world,” Mr. Santos said during an interview with Señal Radio Colombia in honor of National Memory and Solidarity towards Victims Day, which is observed today in Colombia.

More than 350,000 victims of the 50-year old armed conflict have been compensated already, which the President indicated is an impressive number and has been accomplished with more than 2,2 billion pesos.

The President indicated that the reparation process initiated by his administration, the first in the world to do it before an armed conflict has ended, is essential to achieving the stable long-lasting peace desired by Colombians.

San Francisco is now mine-free

Viernes, abril 4th, 2014

The National Government announced that the town of San Francisco, in eastern Antioquia, is now the third Colombian town to be free of anti personnel mines and improvised explosive artifacts. The Government will certify the town as mine-free at a later date but people have already started to benefit from the newly achieved status, as many were displaced due to the threats of mines and are starting to return.



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