Collectives from different countries have signed a document that seeks the solidarity of nations before the imminent danger faced by the Peace Agreement signed by the previous Colombian Government, which the current one seems determined to end, in the context of a polarized country and where violence and impunity are growing.
Nearly 6 million direct victims of the war occurred during one of the most violent periods in Colombian history (corresponding to the presidential terms of Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe), continuous displacement, dispossession of lands, selective murders and a permanent violation of human rights, are part of the scenario that Colombians do not want to live through again.
However, this seems inevitable given the ongoing attacks by the current government in Colombia on the Peace Accords, signed in 2016 between the president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC-EP.
These agreements gave the Colombian people, after decades of violence, much of the tranquility they had lost. Therefore, dozens of groups of Colombians living in Europe and the three Americas have launched an appeal calling for international solidarity to provide effective protection to social leaders, respect for and compliance with the Peace Agreements and respect for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace – JEP, the heart of the Agreements but currently a victim of constant persecution by the present Government.
The document, entitled “The government of Colombia: its betrayal of the peace agreements and its two-sided discourse“, states:
“The free citizens of Colombia, united by their own will, eager to build a better future for the next generations, we declare before international public opinion that:
No Colombian has ever lived in peace in our country. We are all or have been victims of violence.
A violence caused by the permanent concentration of political power in the hands of small economically privileged sectors, who have used the laws for their own benefit, condemning most of the population to the most dishonorable poverty.
The social inequality caused by corrupt political practices, has been the main fuel of the war that has produced thousands of deaths over the years.
One of the most violent periods experienced in our recent history, occurred between 1998 and 2010, a period corresponding to the presidential terms of Andrés Pastrana Arango and Álvaro Uribe Vélez, currently unwavering opponents of a negotiated end to the Colombian conflict.
According to Colombian government statistics, during this period there were 5,827,898 direct victims of war, affected by death or situations of displacement, kidnappings and hunger. This macabre number of victims only took a downward turn during the presidential period 2010 – 2018, when the then President Juan Manuel Santos, today Nobel Peace Prize winner, as head of State signed the Havana Peace Agreement, with the guerrilla group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC—EP), with the support of the international community.
Through this Peace Agreement, the Colombian State entered into binding fundamental commitments, in order to achieve structural social changes to properly fight inequality and lead to a truly peaceful environment.
Unfortunately for the great majority of the citizens, since last year, the political forces who maintained their power in Colombia for year by promoting war and fear, succeeded in again taking the presidency. Since then, under the presidency of Iván Duque Márquez, there have been many attacks against the long-hoped-for peace. For instance, during the first eight months of his presidency, a total of 172 social leaders and human rights activists were murdered in Colombia, according to a report by the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz).
Likewise, with the objective of impeding the Peacemaking process in Colombia, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) is under attack by the President himself, his allies in Congress, and the Attorney General’s Office (politically co-opted by them), with the support and the improper intervention in Colombian internal affairs by the U.S. President Donald Trump.
The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) is an instrumental judicial body at the heart of the Peace Accords (November. 2016), with mandatory jurisdiction to investigate the acts of violence during the armed conflict and directed to seek Justice, Truth and Reparation for its victims.
Throughout the grievous recent events, the Colombian Government and its political allies have shown that their personal interests take preference over the welfare of an entire nation.
For this reason, we the Colombians find ourselves with the urgent need to do everything possible to prevent the imposition of a political agenda that perpetuates war and impedes the exercise of democracy.
For the above reasons, we ask for the support of the International Community and the leaders of the world that have been our allies in the achievement of Peace in Colombia, for the following purposes:
- That effective guarantees and protections be given to all social leaders, human rights activists, land claimants, demobilized guerrilla combatants now re-integrated in civilian life, and civilians, who are systematically being murdered in our country.
- That the Peace Agreement signed by the Colombian State with the extinct guerrilla group (FARC—EP) be respected and complied with.
- That the Colombian Government resume peace talks with the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN), in order to achieve a true stable and long-lasting Peace.
- That the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) be respected (and free of executive or congressional encroachment) to allow the JEP to examine and clarify all war crimes committed by all actors of the Colombian armed conflict.
- That life be respected and be given effective guarantees to exercise political participation or opposition.
- That judicial independence be respected in Colombia.
That PEACE does not cost us life or freedom”