Colombia: Lack of Political Will to Dismantle Paramilitarism

Source:Contagio Radio
Translated By FARC-EP

Social organizations and human rights defenders expressed their concern about the lack of action on the part of the government in its commitments with the creation and activation of the Investigative and Dismantling Unit of Paramilitary Structures, which would contribute and shed light on those who are behind the murders of social leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia.

Soraya Guttiérrez, an attorney that is a member of the Jose Avelar Restrepo Lawyers Collective, which is characterized for the defense of victims of State and paramilitary violence in Colombia, said that such Investigative and Dismantling Unit -which was agreed upon in the Havana Agreements between the Government and the FARC-EP- “has not yet been created, has undergone modifications and the Attorney General of the Nation has not yet had any political will in giving resources to such Unit and enable its functioning”.

Despite the fact that several national and international Human Rights reports, including UN reports, have pointed out that paramilitary presence persists in Colombia and that it is necessary to dismantle these structures in order to achieve a stable and lasting peace, the Defense Minister, Juan Carlos Villegas stated that “There is no paramilitarism in Colombia. To say that in Colombia there is paramilitarism would mean granting political recognition to bandits dedicated to common or organized delinquency “.

However, Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo acknowledged the presence of the paramilitary group called “Clan del Golfo” in the Urabá region, a structure that is occupying the places where the FARC-EP was previously located and stated that “the National Government will act with all its force against this criminal group”. At the same time, he called for increased protection measures for human rights defenders and leaders in different regions of the country.

In the first 25 days of the year, 15 leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered;communities continue to denounce paramilitary presence near the rural settlements where the FARC-EP members regroup, there are still no concrete actions being taken on part of Public Forces.