Colombia: Toward Lasting Peace: FIDH Recommendations to the Future United Nations Verification Mission

Press release
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Joint Press Release

Paris, Bogotá, September 8, 2017. The undersigned organizations are sending today an open letter to the members of the UN Security Council in which they make a series of recommendations to be adopted for the resolution on the second United Nations Verification Mission [1] , which is to begin its work on 26 September 2017. The UN Security Council will discuss this matter on 11 September.

In the letter, the organizations express their concern regarding their finding, based on the FIDH mission to Colombia between May 12 and 19, 2017, that the FARC’s withdrawal has been accompanied by a reconfiguration and expansion of armed groups seeking to fill the power vacuum left, aiming to take control of the territory and the population in order to pursue or establish illegal activities such as drug trafficking, illegal mining and securing land ownership. These are mainly paramilitary groups, organized crime, and FARC and ELN dissidents, which have a significant recruitment capacity and are mainly attacking community leaders, human rights defenders, and demobilized FARC members. This has been the main cause of the increase in assassinations of human rights defenders and community leaders.

Although the Peace Agreement [2] signed by the Government of Colombia and the FARC in November 2016 can be considered historical for its positive repercussions for Colombia, ending a period of more than 50 years of internal armed conflict, it requires setting a number of conditions to ensure compliance with it and to prevent the expansion of other forms of violence.

All of this makes the United Nations [3] ’ future political verification mission fundamental. One of the two lines of work of the mission is “the implementation of security guarantees and the fight against the criminal organizations and criminal behavior responsible for murders and massacres, which target human rights defenders, social and political movements or which threaten or attack persons taking part in the implementation of the agreements and the peace building efforts, including the criminal organizations which have been named as successors to the paramilitaries and their support network”. The recommendations focus on this essential line of work.

See attached open letter with the recommendations :

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