By Colombia 2020, EL ESPECTADOR, April 26, 2021

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The members of civil society in that agency have sent a message to President Duque, to Commission members, and to the Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, because of the escalation of violence against the former FARC combatants, and the humanitarian crisis in several regions because of the armed conflict.

In the 38 months of the administration of President Iván Duque, the National Commission for Security Guarantees, an agency created by the Peace Agreement to dismantle the groups that are the heirs of the paramilitaries, an agency that is required to meet once a month, has only met six times. And, according to the members of civil society and the human rights platforms on the Commission, at none of those meetings has the policy for the dismantling of those groups been taken up. That, in reality, was to be the Commission’s objective.

Because of that, this Monday the representatives of the human rights platforms and civil society in the agency sent a letter to President Duque and to the High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos. In the letter, they asked that he call a meeting of the Commission immediately, to be chaired by the President himself. In the letter, they call attention to the fact of the humanitarian crisis in several regions of the country, stating that this is unsustainable, in particular, what is going on with the murders of former FARC combatants. In just the last two weeks, seven of them have been murdered.

“ The death threats have continued, the stigmatization and murder of leaders and people that defend human rights and the wave of armed violence; all have multiplied the displacement and confinement of ethnic communities in various regions of the country. The attacks on civilian populations in areas of the coca economy and of the influence of the drug traffickers, illegal mining, and megaprojects that are disputing territory with ethnic and campesino communities have all multiplied in the same way,” states the document. In particular it points out what is happening in Cauca, Antioquia, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Córdoba, Meta, and Caquetá.

In the same document, they ask that the Commission take action with respect to what they called irregular arrests by the Armed Forces of a number of campesino leaders that were part of Pupsoc Patriotic March in Cauca. They referred especially to the arrests that occurred in Páez, of Juan Clímico Guachime, Jaime Sánchez, Consuelo Sun, and Mardy Sun, between last April 22 and 23.

And besides the foregoing, the letter notes the declarations by the Chancellor, Claudia Blum, before the United Nations Security Council, where she said that the FARC dissidents ought to be considered as a violation by the former guerrillas converted by the Agreement into a political party. “That statement ought to be the object of an analysis by the CNGS (the Commission) because it is indispensable to have a prior and detailed explanation by the government about the basis that she had for making that statement, and the manner that it will impact the public and criminal policy for the dismantling of the criminal organizations that are attacking the human rights defenders, social leaders, and people that take part in implementing the Agreements and building the peace.

The High Commissioner for Peace, Miguel Ceballos, has said that the Commission has met oftener than the members of civil society claim, and he recently furnished an outline of the public policy of such a dismantling before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. He said it because the JEP had ordered that as part of the procedure it’s advancing of protective measures for the former combatants.

In fact, the letter recognized that, as ordered by the JEP, there have been meetings of technical committees and two Commission sessions to evaluate advances in the formation of those outlines. Regarding its complaint about the government in relation to the Commission meetings that were called, the letter says that “they have been trying to substitute work meetings with the technicians, delegates, and officials that have no authority to decide about anything for the regular functioning of the Commission.”

In the letter, signed by Franklin Castañeda, Gustavo Gallón, Camilo González, Jaime Caycedo, Rosa Emilia Salamanca, Linda Cabrera Cifuentes, Armando Valbuena Wouriyú, and Marino Córdoba, they ask that all of the members of the Commission attend the April, May, and June meetings, and that in the future, they respond to the situation that the former FARC combatants, social leaders, and rural communities are experiencing.

This letter is added to the statement made this Monday by the United Nations System in Colombia, in which it called attention to the murders of the former combatants and to the situation that’s going on in Cauca Province. “With this worrisome situation, it’s of the greatest importance to make sure of the complete presence of government agencies in the territories, including the city officials that are responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights,” stated the UN agencies.

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