Colombia is Still at War: Displacements and Massacres

https://isrobinson.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/masacre-e1626409013763-570x250.jpgOn July 13, Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, attended the UN Security Council meeting held after the publication of the report of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia on the progress of the peace agreement signed in 2016 between the Government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The diplomat said that the social protests registered in Colombia since last April 28 “are not due to non-compliance” with the commitments made by the State on the part of Iván Duque.

Displacement data: Recently, the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office reported that in the first half of 2021 there were 102 events of this nature, compared to 51 registered in the same period of the previous year.

Violence in the territories led to the forced displacement of 44,290 people, belonging to 15,340 families, three times more than the 13,912 Colombians who fled in the first half of last year.

Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Chocó, Antioquia, Córdoba, Norte de Santander, Risaralda and Arauca were the departments most affected by these events related to the interest of illegal armed groups in crops for illicit use, the dispute for the control of drug trafficking and smuggling routes and the illegal extraction of minerals.

Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities were impacted in 59% of cases and peasants in 41%.

There were 68 events of confinements that forced 36,101 people from 192 communities to remain within their territories.

Justice and truth absent

At the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office adopted the term “collective homicides” or “multiple homicides” to refer to the 91 massacres that occurred last year and the 50 this year, according to figures from the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz).

Instead of speaking of forced disappearances, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office describe people whose traces were lost during the national strike and subsequent protests as “unaccounted for”. Such category is not contemplated in the documents signed by the Colombian State.

Last May 31, both institutions reported 111 “missing persons”, and only four reports of forced disappearance: two in Antioquia (Zaragoza and Caldas) and one in Valle del Cauca (Yumbo). They assume that there is an enforced disappearance only when the cases have a criminal complaint for this crime.

For its part, Indepaz revealed that 346 people are missing while 23 human rights organizations, grouped in the Working Group on Forced Disappearance of the Colombia Coordination, registered 327 people reported as missing.

Social organizations reject the euphemism on the grounds that it is a decline in the obligations to investigate, prosecute and punish cases of forced disappearance.

Why it is important: The figures shown are evidence that the peace accords are not being complied with and this has been made known by social organizations in the territories affected by the conflict during the national strike.

Although the Chancellor attributes the murders in protests to infiltrators, activists reported that in the first two months of the strike there were 75 murders, 44 allegedly perpetrated by the security forces, in addition the National Police has opened more than 200 investigations for alleged disciplinary offenses, including 16 for homicide.

Ramirez also stated that the protests are the result of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, ignoring the structural violence based on injustice, the main reason for the protests and expressed in constant massacres, disappearances and displacements.

Instituto Samuel Robinson