At least 40 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), now a legal political party using the same acronym, have been killed after the peace agreement was signed between the former insurgent group and the Colombian government in November 2016, said President Juan Manuel Santos.
“As of today, 40 confirmed members of the FARC have been murdered,” said Santos during the presentation of a report called “Security Guarantees, One Year After the Implementation,” in the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota.
Even though Santos said that “just one is too many” and that his government will work until the end of his administration on Aug. 7 so “more cases don't occur,” he also compared the process to other peace processes, without naming them, in which the number of victims is up to 700.
The president said “the life of the former fighters have been protected 100 percent” with a system that guarantees security to “more than 200 members of the first leadership line” and more than 4,000 former fighters sheltered in the Training and Reincorporation Territorial Spaces.
“We achieved a system that has built trust between public forces and former fighters; this is essential to give them tranquility and to not repeat tragedies of the past in which hundreds of former fighters died,” he added.
Santos also spoke about the situation of social leaders and human rights defenders, who have become increasingly vulnerable especially since the signing of the peace agreement, as zones previously under control of the FARC have been left at the hands of paramilitary groups and drug trafficking organizations.
“Today we have a clarification rate of more than 40 percent in the 261 cases the attorney's office has received from various sources between January 2016 and April this year,” said Santos, who added that about 4,000 social leaders and human right defenders, out of which 60 percent are in rural zones, are now under state protection.
The report was done by 15 state institutions, including the presidency, the attorney's office, the Department of Protection of Citizen's Rights, the defense ministries and the Protection, Police and Military Forces National Unit, with the support of international organizations such as the U.N.'s Mission of Verification, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organization of American States.
More than 200 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia since January 2017 to date. Multiple human rights organizations have urged the Colombian government to implement more effective measures to preserve the lives of social leaders.