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  • Women holding flags of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC) political party in Bogota, Colombia, March 13, 2019.

    Women holding flags of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC) political party in Bogota, Colombia, March 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 December 2019
Opinion

The United Nations has verified 86 murders of social leaders and human rights defenders in 2019.

In his latest report to the Security Council, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres analyzed the implementation of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), noting that Colombians are still striving to consolidate a country free of violence.

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"Three years after the signing of the final peace agreement, Colombians continue their efforts to write a new chapter on peacebuilding, reconciliation, and hope," Guterres said and added that the relatively peaceful nature of the subnational elections held in October demonstrated "the gradual progress towards a more inclusive and democratic Colombia.”

The UN Secretary-General noted that the members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) party actively participated in the last elections, although they were stigmatized by mainstream media, they had limitations in obtaining financing and experienced security problems.

The FARC and its political allies supported more than 300 candidates, 67 percent of whom were not former guerrilla fighters.

Some former combatants also appeared as candidates for other parties and 38 percent of the former female fighters competed electorally. Twelve candidates were chosen for different positions, including two women.

"In this country, how can one be happy if beautiful and sensitive social leaders are still killed? Ivan Duque does not want to fight paramilitarism and drug trafficking. The Peace Agreement left mechanisms to advance in that direction, but he refuses to implement them. He is an accomplice."

Thousands of ex-combatants continue to return to civilian life with the support of organizations that actively work in the quest for justice and reconciliation.

So far, the National Reincorporation Council (CNR) has managed to approve 47 collective productive projects, which will benefit 2,454 former guerrilla fighters, 688 of whom are women.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the UN report also indicates that communities, human rights defenders, social leaders and people involved in the Peace Agreement implementation are still being attacked and intimidated by paramilitary organizations, irregular groups, and drug cartels.

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) has verified 303 murders of social leaders and human rights defenders, 86 of which occurred in 2019.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, President Ivan Duque's administration, the Attorney General's Office and the Elite Police Corps have barely reported progress in investigating the 39 percent of those 86 cases of political murder.

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