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News > Colombia

Violence Threatens Peace in Colombia, United Nations Warns

  • A man mobilizes to protest against violence, Colombia, 2020.

    A man mobilizes to protest against violence, Colombia, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @ArakFialloNancy

Published 22 January 2021

President Ivan Duque has failed to control the actions of paramilitary groups against former guerilla combatants, social leaders, and human rights defenders.

United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia (UNMC) head Carlos Ruiz on Thursday pointed out that violence against former combatants, social leaders, and human rights defenders is "the most serious threat to peace" in this South American country. 


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Speaking before the UN Security Council (UNSC), he reported that 252 ex-combatants and 378 social leaders and human rights activists have been killed since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016. 

Besides de protection and security of these targeted people, Ruiz issued five recommendations to address increasing violence, among them the strengthening of the reincorporation process and dialogue between the parties. 

Noting attempts by President Ivan Duque's administration to "interpret and replace" provisions of the peace accords, Russia's representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia highlighted that the agreements were losing "momentum".

"Other priority tasks also require urgent progress, including a comprehensive agrarian reform, electoral changes, political and social reintegration of peace process participants, and the drug problem," Nebenzia said.

Ireland's representative Byrne Nason noted concerns about forced recruitments of minors into armed groups, while France's diplomat Nathalie Broadhurst advocated for comprehensive rural reform. 

Norway's ambassador Mona Juul also called for attention to the increasing violence and discrimination against women, Afro-descendants, Indigenous leaders, and LGTBI activists.

"It must be intolerable that more than 250 ex-combatants have been killed, four since the beginning of this year...We recognize the Government's efforts but these figures show that more must be done," Juul said.

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