Tired of the violence, thousands of immigrants, refugees and exiles from different countries and different cities will come together to expose the ongoing violation of human rights in the country and the non-compliance with the FARC Peace Treaty. This will take place on 15 November.
Almost three years after the so-called Final Agreement was signed between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, the treaty has not been fulfilled on a number of accounts, and there is much stigma and persecution towards those who defend the peace process.
Thousands of ex-combatants, social leaders, farmers, indigenous people and students have been threatened, persecuted, tortured and murdered.
This South-American country has been overwhelmed by violence; a crime is committed against opponents almost every day, and the Colombian government does not show a sincere desire to end it.
For this reason, the international movement “Defendamos La Paz” (Let’s Defend Peace) are calling on all Colombians and non-Colombians to join the event they have organised next week, titled “International mobilisation for peace and respect for life in Colombia”.
The initiative will be based in several different cities; Geneva (UN headquarters), Montevideo (Mercosur headquarters), New York (UN headquarters), Quito (OAS headquarters) and San José in Costa Rica (IACHR headquarters). Its purpose is to “make visible the ongoing violation of human rights in Colombia and expose the government’s lack of compliance with the treaty signed in 2016.”
The mobilisation this 15 November has been guided by other movements with a similar objective.
One of these movements, which took place on 5 April this year, was aimed at the International Criminal Court of the Hague and had a big impact on the American continent.
Then on 13 June, the international chapter of the Defendamos la Paz platform was officially launched.
And on 26 July they carried out massive demonstrations around the world, demanding respect for the lives of social leaders.
Under this premise, and “with the same spirit we will come together on 15 November in different cities which house offices of the United Nations, Mercosur, OAS and IACHR, where we will have the support of congresspeople, social organisations, activists and other numerous representatives of civil society who are supportive of our cause”.
They emphasised that, for Colombians, the accord signed between the government and FARC signified “a first and bold step towards building long-lasting peace. For the first time in the South-American country’s history, forgiveness and reconciliation began to be seen as a real possibility.”
However, the arrival of President Iván Duque into office in 2018 meant a drastic change in the political outlook.
The organisers of the event also report that “hundreds of women and men committed to justice have been assassinated by criminal groups that have been given impunity. Ex-combatants face enormous difficulties in the process of social reintegration and are victims of constant threats, harassment, torture and even lynching; extrajudicial executions have appeared once more in the news, along with attempts against opposing parties. We are witnessing a genocide under the complicit silence of the state.”
They also explain that pro-government officials respond by repressing protests, intensifying censorship of journalists and independent media outlets, and implementing economic policies that are detrimental for the people. At the same time, on the international stage they promote an agreement which benefits them financially.
Interestingly, this international movement has had the same driving force and dynamics as other similar events, and despite residing in different countries, the organisers of these actions have managed to “coordinate a course of action based on the diaspora and diversity that characterises us, in order to contribute to the creation of peaceful propositions faced with the current crisis that Colombia is undergoing.”
Their requests are clear: to strictly implement the peace treaty; to defend the country’s Integrated System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition; to ensure full guarantees for the functioning of the JEP (Special Jurisdiction for Peace), the Truth Commission and the UPBD, a unit devoted to the search for disappeared persons in the context of internal armed conflict; to immediately resume dialogue with the ELN (National Liberation Army); to fulfill the commitments made with social sectors; to protect the lives of leaders and ex-combatants of the FARC; and to take up dialogue and search for political solutions as the only instruments for resolving any conflict.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. International Committee of Citizen Mobilisation
(Translated by Lucy Daghorn – Email: email@example.com)