Monthly Report - October 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

 "Mario Paciolla represents - like few - all those wonderful people with whom we feel a connection  coming from the heart and our lives, the kind of person who do not believe in Italian, Colombian, French, Ecuadorian nationality or whatever it is, but believe that life need to be built by taking care of each other, recognizing each other, being critical and self-critical and by creating real alternatives in the face of what is happening".
Manuel Rozental, activist for the organization “Pueblos en Camino” in Colombia, used these words to describe Mario Paciolla during an interview for the Italian newspaper “Manifesto”.

The circumstances of Mario’s death, which took place on July 15th in San Vicente del Caguán, still remain to be clarified. In recent weeks, this episode has strongly re-emerged - as reported in the SIR article - when the Senator Roy Barreras, during a debate in the Senate, "asked Defense Minister Holmes Trujillo if the military indicated in a report the name of Paciolla as an informer, since he had interviewed the mothers of 8 children and adolescents who died when the army bombed the FARC’s dissidence ... ". By reading the article, we also learn that: “The senator revealed there was allegedly an intelligence report about an Italian UN humanitarian worker who was accused of leaking information about the bombing”.

Day by day a pervasive sense of uncertainty and insecurity is haunting the Colombian population who has been bent by the violent acts committed by many illegal armed groups such as the AGC (Autodefensas Gaetanistas de Colombia). At the beginning of October, this illegal armed group smeared walls and vehicles in several cities writing “AGC are present” and leaving flyers in many regions including Antioquia, Cordoba, Chocò and Sucre. By these gestures, they wanted to announce their presence and their determination to stay and control as many territories as possible.

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Monthly Report - September 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

The investigation into Mario Paciolla’s death, the UN Verification Mission’s collaborator in Colombia found dead on July 15th in San Vicente del Caguán in circumstances yet to be clarified, is going on. The Colombian newspaper El Espectador has recently reported the decision of the Prosecutor's Office in Rome to launch an inquiry for murder, thus dumping the suicide hypothesis and expressing the intention to shed light on Mario’s death. Also, the Vice-Minister of Cooperation and Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, has declared that “the United Nations must cooperate to uncover the truth” since what happened shows a series of “inexplicable facts” and “it is very hard to believe it was suicide.” A beautiful account of Mario’s vocation and life has been realized by Valerio Cataldi (Tg3 Rai) through an article narrating Mario's professionalism and passion in his work in Colombia.

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Monthly Report - May 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

Neither on the pandemic side nor on the side of violence against social leaders did we receive any good news from Latin America this month. In many areas of Colombia people are starving, especially where the situation was difficult and precarious even before Covid-19. In the Guajira region, for example, people are experiencing a serious lack of water and the risk of infection has increased due to Venezuelan migrants who cross the area while coming back from different states of Latin America, thus worsening the situation.

The most shocking news for the world, however, was the evidence which has shown that the Colombian army illegally spied on 130 people, among which reporters (some from the US), politicians, Human Rights activists, trade unionists, magistrates and employees from different NGOs. The Colombian military intelligence unit compiled their dossiers by controlling people’s ICT devices in order to collect telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, addresses of relatives and friends and a number of other private and business pieces of information, thus carrying out illegal espionage. The UN office in Bogotà, together with several Institutions and Organizations, expressed deep concern about these violations of labour law committed against the people involved.

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April 2017

CURRENT SITUATION

According to Somos Defensores’ annual report (2016) “Information system about aggressions against human rights defenders in Colombia”, the most worrisome situation has to do with the increasing number of social leaders’ murders. Aggressions reduced of 29% from 2015 to 2016. Notwithstanding, last year were reported 80 cases of murders and 49 cases of harassment of such leaders. In 2017 the situation is not different. According to the platform ¡Pacifista!, the toll of social leaders’ murders is more than 20 cases. Moreover, if we count from the agreement signature it raises at 31. On the 16th of March, The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, Todd Howland presented the annual report emphasizing the state of warning for the increasing number of attacks against social activists. Mr Howland called on the government to recognise that the deaths formed a pattern and to provide protection to those in danger. Another warning comes from Amnesty International that in its report presented on the 21st of April talks about a worrisome situation related to the wave of homicides of indigenous in areas historically exposed to armed conflict.

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February 2017

CURRENT SITUATION

After two months and a half since the peace agreement was signed by the government and the FARC, the main result is 7000 guerrillas entering the “transitional areas of normalization”. The FARC started to talk about inefficiency of the State, while the government can’t put in practice what they agreed on. The worrisome situation keeps on growing for, as declared by the High commissioner for peace Sergio Jaramillo, most of the peace processes fail after signing, during the implementation stage. Although the international community agrees about the fact that the agreement is one of the most deep and complete, the experience shows that the hardest test for an agreement is the practical implementation. “The quality of a peace agreement is only equal to the quality of its implementation ”, Jean Paul Lederach (university of Notre Dame) said. He added that, according to statistics, the first 18 months are crucial. During this period of time, it is necessary to build the bases in order not to repeat past mistakes.

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