Report Colombia – April 2024

Current Situation

We cannot introduce the main facts happened during the month of April, without mentioning the hard situation that the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó (CdP) is suffering after the murder of its members, Nayeli Sepúlveda and Edison David, occurred on March 19th in Las Delicias, at La Esperanza village. For this reason, the Peace Community asked the Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) for a monitoring visit on the ground in order to report the serious human rights violations that affect not only its members. The CIDH visit aimed at talking and gather information from various national, municipal and civil society representatives to better understand the violence impact on undermining human rights.
During the post-visit press conference, CIDH stressed that the Peace Community is protected by precautionary measures, recently extended due to the situation of violence in loco, and expressed concern, urging State authorities to safeguard the CdP from the armed groups. CIDH will closely monitor the implementation of the protective measures that the State should guarantee to the CdP.
On April 1st, Ever Albeiro Espí Hernández, social leader and President of the Municipal Action Council of Beisal in Arauca Department, has been killed, showing once again how the violence is still a painful issue for the country.

On April 21st, the well-known social leader, farmer and human rights defender, Narciso Beleño, was shot while entering his home in the municipality of Santa Rosa, Bolivar Department. As reported by Front Line Defenders, Beleño was President of the Federación Agrominera del Sur del Bolívar and, for more than three decades, worked in defense of the territory and the farmers from the region, against paramilitary groups that isolated and displaced communities by force. He was one of the main supporter of agrarian reform in the country and promoted land restitution and the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. In all these years, he has always worked tirelessly for peacebuilding in the territories affected by violence.
In addition, new threats from the FARC-EP guerrilla groups - known as Estado Mayor Central - occurred. Indeed, since President Petro announced the interruption of the bilateral ceasefire in the Valle del Cauca and Nariño after the attack against the police happened in March, the Estado Mayor Central threatened to commit new attacks against military squads and police stations if the ceasefire is not restored.
Not even the dialogue with the ELN guerrilla groups seem to proceed smoothly. The next meeting should be held on April 22nd in Caracas, but the ELN sent to the new government negotiator, Vera Grabe, a document announcing that the conditions for the dialogue no longer exist. The main reason is the failure to fulfill some agreements previously concluded, including wider social participation in the submission of conflict solutions. Therefore, the ELN asked for an extraordinary meeting that took place in Caracas, Venezuela, on April 12th. The new cycle of dialogue between Government and ELN will resume from May 20th to May 25th. 

Sharing, Work and News about Volunteers

Elisa Carlaccini, Head Office for the UN Agency for Refugees in Medellin, received a delegation from the CdP as example of civilian and nonviolent resistance for the territory defense. And due to the protection of the right to land, the Peace Community continues to be threatened and its members prevented from carrying out their daily activities, thus generating fear and forced displacement as described in the last public notice on April 21st.
The presence of illegal armed groups and the threats to the Peace Community have also been reported by Operazione Colomba to the Permanent Sub Committee on human rights of the Foreign Affairs Commission from the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The hearing was held on April 24th and was chaired by Mrs Laura Boldrini who declared: "we will consider our visit in those territories to support the peace process."
Unfortunately, the last two weeks of April were also marked by violent acts against the CdP: starting from the theft of food and work tools on the property Las Delicias and ending with the destruction of a gate. Moreover, two persons tried to enter and intimidate two minors from the CdP, in San Josecito.
In addition, the AGC group (now known as EGC - Gaetanist Army of Colombia) revealed the intention to exterminate the Peace Community by serious death threats to its legal representative and his relatives. All these terrible facts have been reported by the CdP in the public notice on April 25th.
For these reasons, in April Operazione Colomba focused on accompanying the Peace Community members in their movements and during their presence in the villages in order to guarantee the daily agricultural activities implementation in an atmosphere as peaceful as possible.