Ensuring a real and long lasting peace in Colombia: a joint endeavour

Ensuring a real and long lasting peace in Colombia: a joint endeavour

Ensuring a real and long lasting peace in Colombia: a joint endeavour 

The signing of the Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) in November 2016 in Havana, Cuba, marked a historic moment for Colombia. The peace agreement, which aims to bring to an end the decades-long armed conflict and build stable and lasting peace in the country, has seen the active participation of Colombian civil society in the overall peace process, including social leaders, peasants, indigenous communities and women’s rights organisations. The European Union has been by Colombia’s side since the very beginning of the peace process, and has demonstrated strong commitment to the process by means of the EU Trust Fund (EUTF), formally established in December 2016 and aimed at supporting Colombia's post-conflict peace building efforts. However, since the signature of the peace agreement, in some regions of the country the violence and the security situation has worsened due to the proliferation of armed groups and conflicts over the control of territory for drug trafficking, leading to grave human rights violations with rampant impunity.

Against this background, SOLIDAR member Movimiento por la Paz (Movement for peace, MPDL) was in Brussels, on 19 and 20 November[1] to share its concerns about the multiplication of armed groups in both rural and urban areas of the municipality of Tumaco, the fight over the control of coca crops and trade routes and the situation of human and women’s rights.

MPDL strives to defend human rights, prevent violence and educate for peace. In addition to its support activities targeting women victims of sexual violence and women’s rights defenders carried out by its office in Colombia, MPDL also played an active part in the field mission conducted by the international consortium “Peace Cooperation Space (ECP)” in the municipality of Tumaco, Nariño province, during June and July 2018. The recently-released mission’s report highlighted the presence and activity of these armed groups that has exacerbated the situation for the people in that area. Forced displacements have intensified, particularly in the last nine months, as have forced recruitment of children and adolescents; threats and murders of human rights defenders and social leaders, forced disappearances and sexual violence against women perpetrated by both the army and illegal armed groups have gravely escalated.

In this context, SOLIDAR support the MPDL’s call on the international community to:

  • Continue supporting the implementation and monitoring of the Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC-EP, particularly with regard to the gender components contained therein;
  • Call on the government of Colombia to ensure the active participation of civil society organisations in the implementation and monitoring process of the peace agreements;
  • Continue supporting women’s rights defenders, leaders and their organisations; and
  • Strengthen the coordination strategies and sustainability of the different initiatives that are being developed through international cooperation, so that the interventions in matters of access to justice, physical and psychological health of women victims of armed conflicts-related sexual violence in regions such as Tumaco have a greater impact.

Moreover, SOLIDAR:

  • Considers that, pursuant to the 2030 Agenda’s motto to “leave no one behind”, the fight against inequalities and the promotion of human rights, as well as the support for independent and representative civil society organisations, should remain at the heart of European Union-Latin American relations; and
  • Further calls on the EU and LAC governments to work towards the full achievement of gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls[2].

[1] * The visit was organised with the support of Madrid City Council in the framework of the project “Cities of peace: urban initiatives in Colombia to promote the rights of women and young people”

[2] Our views | SOLIDAR Network’s vision for stronger and fairer EU- LAC relations, http://www.solidar.org/en/publications/our-views-solidar-networks-vision-for-stronger-and-fairer-eu-lac-relations

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