CambioColombia, June 14, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

President Iván Duque’s work on human rights leaves much to be desired, above all, in the protection of leaders. Their murders are considered by social organizations to be an ongoing extermination, similar to a genocide.

The way that President Iván Duque has conceived the protection of human rights has not left the social organizations satisfied. They are criticizing his management in areas like the implementation of the Peace Agreement, his response to the urban protests, and the difficult security situation of social leaders in this country.

The report, “War and hunger: the Legacy of the Apprentice”, was presented by more than 500 social organizations in this country, grouped into the Colombian Human Rights, Democracy and Development Platform (PCDDHDD), and the Alliance of Social and Related Organizations (Alianza). It judges the “ongoing and unpunished extermination to be at the level of a genocide.”  It is a crisis provoked by the frequent attacks on human rights defenders in the Colombian countryside.

Social leaders unprotected

The murder of leaders increased from 116 victims in 2016 to 171 in 2021, and achieved the embarrassing second place in the list of countries with the most attacks on defenders of the environment. So far this year, the situation continues to get worse. There were 86 fatal crimes against social leaders.

The analysis emphasizes the administration’s lack of action in the face of an obvious security crisis, exacerbated by the attempts of armed groups to expand their control in the regions which traditionally had been most affected by the armed conflict.

Among the social leaders murdered recently are Jesusita Moreno, a defender of the land and of the communities in the Medio San Juan (Chocó), and Jesús Antonio Montano, a Misak indigenous leader who had complained of threats against his people by the holdout groups in Cauca.

Attacks on the social protests

United for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH), recorded “the use of excessive and indiscriminate force”, and the killing of at least 44 civilians, 28 by actions of members of the Armed Forces, and ten victims of actors that did not represent the government.

The alerts and recommendations on the management of the social protest by the U.N. and the CIDH were rejected at the time by the Duque administration.

Failure to comply with the Peace Agreement

The report, “Hunger and War: The Legacy of the Apprentice”, criticizes the insufficient actions to furnish security to the signers of the Peace Agreement, another population where there were more victims of threats and murders.

Likewise, it characterizes as meager the administration’s efforts to implement the points of the Agreement like rural reform, where they never created “the law of Agrarian Jurisdiction to handle land ownership conflicts”, or the law for measures to put an end to the conflict.

More than 270 civil society organizations sent an open letter to President Duque’s successor with proposals for a humanitarian agenda, including the undertaking of a National Development Plan with a cross-sectional and integrated focus on human rights, a structural and integrated reform of the Armed Forces, re-opening the dialogs with the ELN, and other initiatives that ought to be considered by the next occupant of the Presidential Palace.

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