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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January 2017

CURRENT SITUATION

It has been difficult to digest Colombian Ministry of defense Villegas’ words. Last January 11th, in a radio interview he declared: “In Colombia there is no paramilitarism. To say that there is paramilitarism would be to give political recognition to a group of bandits who are dedicated to common and organized crime. There are murders but they are not systematic. If there were, I would be the first to accept it”.
The Colombian National Center of Historical Memory reports that in 339 municipalities out of 1123 there are “illegal armed groups post-demobilization. Those groups are responsible of several human rights violations.

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December 2016

CURRENT SITUATION

During the last Peace Community General Assembly the Jesuit father Javier Giraldo (defender of human rights and accompanier of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadò) explained the new situation in relation to the peace agreement. He talked about the last developments of the peace process in Colombia, and about what has been happening after the signature of the new agreement.

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