Colombia: the threat of violence continues

A protest by coca leaf growers against the forced eradication of their plantations ended with the killing of six farmers and left several people wounded, in the rural area of Tumaco (Colombia) on Thursday October 5th.

A few days later, a humanitarian commission of human rights activists and local journalists was stopped several times in their attempt to reach the area were the violence had happened.

On Monday (9th October), President Juan Manuel Santos called the episode “regrettable” and promised a thorough investigation of both incidents.

SOLIDAR members have a long standing presence in the Tumaco, a region characterised by high levels of poverty, discrimination, racism, social exclusion, marginality and little presence of the Colombian state.

 Members have expressed their deep concern that the risk of violence facing the Afro-descendant communities in Tumaco is confronted.

They have highlighted five areas of concern: 

  1. The presence of criminal gangs and/or drug trafficking groups and FARC dissident groups in the urban and rural areas. Confrontations over the control of the territory endangers the lives of citizens. This limits the mobility of people trapped between the different warring parties;  
  2. The forced recruitment of minors is one of the practices used by armed groups;
  3. Threats to leaders and leaders who support the implementation of peace agreements and who defend the rights of victims of armed conflict;
  4. The significant tensions among armed groups, peasants and military authorities generated by the implementation of paragraph four of the peace agreement on the eradication of illicit crops;
  5. The lack of implementation of other parts of the peace agreement. Namely, those related to a comprehensive rural reform, the implementation of ethnic and gender differential approaches, and victims’ participation.

The situation of women in this context is highly worrisome, as in both rural and urban areas, the cases of violence and sexual exploitation, threats to female leaders, and the forced disappearance of women continue.“

In this context, SOLIDAR supports its members’ call on local, regional and national authorities, Colombian civil society organisations and the EU to:

  • Monitor and ensure that the peace agreements are implemented in an effective and participatory manner;
  • Prioritise the respect of the right to life and the safety of the local population;
  • Ensure the free movement of people;
  • Increase the presence of the state to help safeguard citizens’ fundamental rights;
  • Ensure the physical and psychological integrity of women is protected.

 

Read the full communication of our member MPDL (in Spanish) 

Read the reaction of MPDL partner (Cooporación Humana) to the violence in Tumaco  (in Spanish)


 

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