KAIROS condemns surge in violence and massacres in Colombia
KAIROS joins several civil society organizations in Canada including human rights, labour, and church groups in supporting the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America’s (CDHAL) solidarity statement published earlier this week condemning the surge in violence and the massacres that have swept both urban and rural regions of Colombia in recent weeks.
The intensification of violence in Colombia is dismaying as it points to the further deterioration of the implementation of the peace accords signed in 2016 between the Colombian government and the FARC, the former guerilla group turned political party.
Across the country, two hundred and thirty people have been killed in 2020 to date in 57 reported massacres, according to the Colombian Institute for Peace and Development Studies (Indepaz) . These massacres add to a tense climate of growing insecurity facing the Colombian populace where human rights defenders are regularly criminalized and targeted. Indepaz reports that, to date, 1,000 human rights defenders have been assassinated since 2016.
In the capital, public security forces’ responses to peaceful demonstrations against police brutality have resulted in the death of at least 13 demonstrators.
KAIROS urges other civil society organizations as well as the Canadian government to heed CDHAL’s call:
“We call on all international human rights organizations to exercise vigilance over this situation and to put pressure on the Government of Colombia to activate the State institutions put in place to address the violence perpetrated by the armed paramilitary groups, the military, and the national police. The actions of the government must be done in favor of and not against the people of Colombia.”
English translation of CDHAL’s statement follows:
Statement of solidarity with the civilian population in Colombia
The Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL) condemns the systematic violation of human rights against social leaders throughout the Colombian territory. We express concern that the Government of Colombia has yet to implement any adequate or urgent measures to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders in the country.
To date, 971 social leaders have been murdered since the signing of the Peace Agreement between the FARC guerrillas and the previous administration in 2016. So far in 2020, 42 former FARC combatants have been murdered. In addition, 51 massacres have been committed against the civilian population.
We condemn the threats, sent by email on Monday, September 7 from the so-called Aguilas Negras paramilitary group, against activists in the municipality of Suacha Cundinamarca, Colombia.
We denounce the systematic murders that the Colombian national police have been committing against the civilian population. On Wednesday, September 9, in Bogotá, 7 people were murdered in a peaceful demonstration organized against the violence of the police force.
From Canada, we stand in solidarity with social leaders, union leaders, victims of the internal armed conflict, human rights defenders, LGBTIQ organizations, organizations of vendors and street vendors, Afro-descendant, Indigenous and peasant organizations, as well as teachers, students, and all the civilian population who suffers from the negligence and inertia of the current administration.
We call on all international human rights organizations to exercise vigilance over this situation and to put pressure on the Government of Colombia to activate the State institutions put in place to address the violence perpetrated by the armed paramilitary groups, the military, and the national police. The actions of the government must be done in favor of and not against the people of Colombia.