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Colombia News Brief for April 7-13, 2017

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Welcome to LAWG’s Colombia News Brief, a compilation of the last week’s top articles and reports on issues of peace, justice, human rights, and more in Colombia.

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Protesters gathered in Plaza de Bolívar, Bogotá. Source: El Tiempo.

Peace Accord Implementation

•  As Colombia Emerges from Decades of War, Migration Challenges Mount
Dayra Carvajal, Migration Policy Institute, April 13, 2017
“In December 2016, Colombia formally brought to a close a 52-year civil war that resulted in the deaths of more than 220,000 people, the flight of more than 7.6 million within and beyond the country’s borders, and an incalculable cost to the economy and public well-being. Approved by Congress after four years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the left-wing rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the historic peace deal ended the longest-running civil conflict in the Western Hemisphere, one that has taken a huge toll on Colombian society, most profoundly in the area of migration.”

•  Colombians are Fed Up with Corruption, and Everyone Seems to Be Under Investigation
Fabio Andres Diaz, The Conversation, April 13, 2017

“On April 1, up to 16,000 Colombians took to the streets to decry corruption and express ongoing dissatisfaction with the peace accords signed with the FARC guerrillas. It was, in many ways, a march against the Colombian political establishment.”

•  Podcast: What’s Happening with Colombia’s Peace Process?
Ginny Bouvier, Colombia Calls, April 12, 2017
“The peace accords with the FARC-EP have been signed, and the legislative and judicial processes required to put the accords into practice are well under way. The FARC-EP troops in 26 transitional zones have been registered and have already begun turning over their weapons to the United Nations mission.”

•  Colombia Peace Deal: Soldier Killed by Renegade Rebels
BBC News, April 10, 2017
“Members of the left-wing Colombian Farc rebel group opposed to last year’s historic peace agreement have killed a soldier in an attack in the south-east of the country, the army has said.”

•  Army Blames FARC Militants for Deadly Blast that Shook Colombia’s Fragile Peace Process
Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek, April 10, 2017
“The Colombian army has blamed 1st Front, a dissident group of FARC rebels opposed to peace, for a bomb that killed a soldier and wounded four people.The blast occurred in the remote area of Guaviare during a patrol late on Saturday, the Associated Press and local media reported. The area was formerly under rebel control before FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace deal last year. The 1st Front is one of six groups that have refused to accept the deal.”

•  Cerca de 1.500 guerrilleros se alistan para apoyar el desminado
El Tiempo, 11 de abril de 2017

“Se espera que la participación de las Farc en el desminado del país, que será posible gracias al proceso de paz, agilice la limpieza de los territorios contaminados con explosivos.” 

•  ‘Where there is drug trafficking, there will always be war’: Fresh violence as gangs fill the void left by Farc’s peace deal with Colombia
Hannah Strange, The Telegraph, April 10, 2017
“While the country’s historic peace accord is celebrated around the world, paramilitaries and other guerrilla groups are flooding into the territories left by Farc – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – as they vie for control of a cocaine trade that has soared to record levels.”

•  La encrucijada de los cultivos de uso ilícito en Colombia
Verdad Abierta, 10 de abril de 2017

“Erradicación forzada y planes de sustitución voluntaria en el marco del Acuerdo de Paz avanzan de manera simultánea y, en ocasiones, en los mismos territorios, generando tensiones y desconfianzas entre los cultivadores. La estrategia para combatirlos no parece clara ni sostenible.”

•  Gobierno y ELN: Buen Ambiente y Bases Sólidas 
Alejo Vargas Velasquez
, Ola Política, 9 de abril de 2017
“Terminó el primer ciclo de conversaciones entre Gobierno y ELN, con la acogida generosa del gobierno del Ecuador. El resultado del mismo es alentador. Claro, sobre esta Mesa de Conversaciones gravita la existencia de un acuerdo en proceso de implementación con las FARC y entonces, algunos sectores y analistas tienden a exigirle más, en términos de resultados, de lo que realmente es posible en tan corto tiempo y haciendo caso omiso que cada proceso tiene su propio ritmo y temporalidad.”

Human Rights Issues

• Why was this Colombian General Posted to his Country’s Washington Embassy?
Kevin G. Hall and Brittany Peterson, Miami Herald, April 11, 2017
“A Colombian army chief relieved of duties following a scathing report on the summary killing of almost 3,000 peasants has spent the last 18 months working at his nation’s embassy in the United States, to the ire of human rights groups.”

•  The Must-See Documentary on Colombia’s Paramilitary Threat
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, April 10, 2017

“Colombia’s peace process could be the prelude to a bloodbath as new paramilitary groups are forming with the explicit intent to kill any “undesirable,” a newly released documentary shows.”

•  Distant Murder Recalls Violence’s Roots as Colombia Hails Peace
TeleSUR, April 9, 2017

“As Colombia remembers the Bogotazo, the true test of solidarity with victims will be in transitional justice and ending assassinations of political leaders.”

 *The Colombia News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.