EL ESPECTADOR, September 8, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Ministers of Interior and Defense presented the “Unified Command Posts for Life”, which will operate initially for 100 days and will be accompanied by the international community and civil society organizations.

This Thursday, the Colombian government announced the establishment of the “Unified Command Posts for Life (PMUV)”, a new system by which they seek to protect the civilian population and the communities, especially the social leaders, human rights defenders, and signers of the Peace Agreement.

As detailed by the Ministers of Defense and Interior in a joint communication, the PMUV will function as an “inter-agency system for attention to the public order situations in the regions.”

These arrangements will be temporary; initially they will last 100 days, with meetings that could be weekly and could be mobile, with accompaniment by international and civil society organizations.

“There are numerous early alerts that fall upon the municipalities, and it’s imperative that you be the ones that coordinate, lead, and direct every Unified Command Post for Life,” states the circular sent to Mayors and Governors about the creation of the PMUV.

The document adds that the officials may solicit “all the authorities of national order that are present in your territories, imposing the guidelines that will permit the re-establishment of public order for the purpose of protecting the lives of the people that are at risk.”

Leaders at risk

Last month the Ombudsman’s Office reported that between January 1 and July 31 of this year there were 122 murders of social leaders and human rights defenders, constituting an increase over the same period in previous years.

There were 32 more homicides than the number reported at the same date in 2021, when 90 were reported. That was 16 more than in 2020, when, 106 were registered from January to July.

Meanwhile, the Commons Party, which arose out of the demobilization of the FARC, reported that 344 former guerrilla fighters had been murdered since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016.

The complaint in the most recent case was raised this Thursday. The former guerrilla Reude Suárez Guerrero was shot to death in his home in the Municipality of Tibú, in the region of Catatumbo (which borders on Venezuela). The former combatant, 34 years old, was part of the Association for Peace and Reconciliation (Repazcat) in Catatumbo.

In that regard, the PMUV will have as their principal objective minimizing the risks to human rights defenders and signers of the peace agreement. The idea, added the circular, is to provide “immediate protection to this population, identify the risk factors, create a road map and timeline for activities for prevention and protection, and bring national government institutions out into the countryside.”

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