en English

Colombia News Brief for December 17, 2016 – January 27, 2017

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


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.

Do you know someone who might be interested in receiving the Colombia News Brief? Have them sign up here.


2ed814c060c2d9f5bee0a9ea8493b4c4
Colombian human rights defender, Emilsen Manyoma. Source: Twitter @CONPAZ_
 
 
The Peace Process with the FARC: Progress and Obstacles Ahead
 
Lo que tiene que pasar este año para aterrizar los acuerdos
http://bit.ly/2jdbYsz
Juanita Velez, La Silla Vacía, 10 de enero de 2017
“Para aterrizar los seis puntos del acuerdo pactado entre el Gobierno y las Farc, no solo hay que aprobar por lo menos 40 leyes de aquí a junio vía fast-track. Arrancan también los primeros pasos para implementar los acuerdos en entidades que, como mostramos, salieron perdiendo con el presupuesto de 2017, y a las que crea el acuerdo, como la Jurisdicción Especial de Paz, les falta un largo trecho para ser realidad.”
Colombia Approves Amnesty Agreed in FARC Peace Deal
http://bbc.in/2k0mTTE
BBC News, December 28, 2016
“The Colombian Congress has approved a law offering amnesty to some of those accused of minor crimes in the country’s decades-long civil conflict. President Juan Manuel Santos hailed it as a “the first step towards the consolidation of peace” with the left-wing FARC guerrilla group. The amnesty is part of a revised deal agreed after the original pact with the FARC was rejected in a popular vote.

Cinco caminos que la Amnistía les ofrece a los militares
http://bit.ly/2k0e38d
Semana, 2 de enero de 2017
“La nueva ley contempla múltiples mecanismos de justicia transicional frente a miembros de la Fuerzas Armadas que se encuentren privados de la libertad.”

FARC Demobilization Delayed as Colombia Government Fails to Provide Basic Infrastructure
http://bit.ly/2jdfKCq
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, December 29, 2016
“The demobilization deadline for Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC has been extended to January 10 as the government has failed to set up the camps where guerillas are meant to hand in their weapons. The FARC was supposed to demobilize more than 16,000 people before new year’s eve as part of a peace deal to end 52 years of armed conflict.” 

El freno al fast-track en Congreso
http://bit.ly/2ktTTmZ
Semana, 25 de enero de 2017
“El 31 de enero era (y sigue siendo) una fecha crucial para la implementación de los acuerdos de paz. Para ese día se tenía previsto que todos los combatientes de las FARC se concentrarán en las zonas veredales como antesala a su efectiva desmovilización. También, el Gobierno (y cómo no, las FARC) esperaba que para ese día el Congreso ya le hubiera dado trámite a la reforma de la Jurisdicción Especial de Paz (JEP), que sin duda le daría un impulso añadido a las demás leyes de implementación, que en teoría tiene un término de seis meses.”

Letter on “Command Responsibility” in the Implementing Legislation of the Peace Agreement
http://bit.ly/2jcQ1tL
Human Rights Watch, January 25, 2017
“The prospects that Colombia achieves a just peace relies on the guarantees that those most responsible for atrocities will be adequately held accountable. The availability of a definition of “command responsibility” that conforms with international law serves an indispensable role in achieving that purpose.”

La alerta de las FARC por los asesinatos de líderes sociales en pleno proceso de paz
http://bit.ly/2kBnDOc
El Espectador, December 27, 2016
“Aunque en su mensaje navideño el presidente Juan Manuel Santo afirmó que Colombia vive por fin una verdadera noche de paz” la violencia contra campesino, indígenas, líderes sociales y militantes de partidos de izquierda sigue siendo una constante. Amenazas, intimidaciones y asesinatos en la mismas zonas golpeadas por el conflicto armado siguen ocurriendo y se siguen presentando como cifras: más de 115 líderes sociales asesinados y 40,000 solicitudes de protección el doble que en 2015, que se suman a la lentísima implementación del proceso de paz, reflejan el difícil horizonte que en estos momentos tienen los acuerdos que firmaron Gobierno y FARC el pasado 24 de Noviembre.”

FARC Unity Shatters in Colombia
http://bit.ly/2ka7PVy
Jeremy McDermott, InSight Crime, January 12, 2017
“Amid increasing desertion, two rival groups of FARC rebels clashed leaving two dead, a clear violation of the ceasefire and evidence that the rebel movement is breaking apart even as the peace process enters its implementation phase… The break-up of the FARC is going to further complicate the criminal landscape in Colombia.”

Colombia’s Urabeños Recruiting Dissidents from FARC Peace Process
http://bit.ly/2jmztKW
Tristan Clavel, Insight Crime, January 26, 2017
“Recent reports show that one of Colombia’s biggest criminal groups may be recruiting dissident guerrilla fighters, another indication that new actors are moving in on criminal operations formerly controlled by the guerrillas.”

Colombia Port Town in Bloody Battle Over Former FARC Turf
http://bit.ly/2jmBM0q
Verdad Abierta, Insight Crime, January 24, 2017
“At least four criminal groups are apparently running the illegal economies in the port of Tumaco on Colombia’s Pacific coast, which is resulting in homicides and mass community displacement.”

Colombia’s Largest Neo-Paramilitary Group AGC Claims to have 8,000 Members
http://bit.ly/2jFn31L
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 19, 2017
“The number given by AGC spokesperson “Raul Jaramillo” is considerably higher than the number estimated by authorities. According to the National Police, the AGC has “no more than” 3,000 members, already making it the country’s largest illegal armed group.”

Peace and Environmental Protection in Colombia: Proposals for Sustainable Rural Development
http://bit.ly/2jxwmmR
Lorenzo Morales, The Dialogue, January 25, 2017
“Colombia should integrate environmental considerations into its rural economic development plans to avoid an increase in deforestation associated with the post-conflict transition, according to a new International American Dialogue report.”

How Santos’ New Peace Deal Aggravated Colombia’s Drug War
http://bit.ly/2kbOjIO
Diego Garcia-Devis, Americas Quarterly, January 25, 2017
“The potential limits to Santos’ re-imagining of the war on drugs don’t end there. Just two days after his Oslo speech, Colombia’s National Council on Narcotics, headed by the justice ministry, announced it would reinstate the manual forced eradication of coca crops using the spray-chemical glyphosate, an herbicide that was listed in 2015 by the World Health Organization as potentially carcinogenic.”

Can Colombia Meet Its Huge 2017 Coca Eradication Goal?
http://bit.ly/2ka8W7J
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, January 9, 2017
“While it will be difficult for Colombia to achieve its eradication goal, it may have more resources to do so, as former FARC members convicted of grave crimes will be expected to participate in crop substitution efforts. Another significant challenge will be to provide viable economic alternatives for coca growing communities to secure long-term change. However, there are doubts about the government’s capacity to fill the state void in these areas in the imminent future.”

The Politics of Peace

FARC Will Become Open, Democratic Political Party in May
http://bit.ly/2kbmobO
TeleSur, January 23, 2017
“The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia announced Sunday that the group’s new political party will be up and running as of May 2017 as an open, democratic and modern movement that will welcome all those who want a positive change for Colombia.”

“Le pedí al Centro Democrático que no jugará con nuestras vida”: Imelda Daza
http://bit.ly/2kBpKkV

Olga Patricia Rendon M., El Colombiano, December 28, 2016
“Hoy el primer proyecto de ley que acompaña, el de Amnistía, indultos y tratamientos penales especiales será votado en el Congreso y su tarea, igual que la de otros cinco ciudadanos elegidos en ese mismo movimiento, será velar porque la ley quedé conforme a lo acordado en La Habana. Así lo reiteró ayer alias Timochenko, quien recordó que el Congreso no debe modificar estas leyes, pese a las críticas de varios sectores, entre ellos la ONG internacional Human Rights Watch.”

Colombian Activist Piedad Cordoba Announces Bid for President
http://bit.ly/2jcWhlb
TeleSur, January 15, 2017
“Former Colombian senator and prominent human rights activist Piedad Cordoba announced Saturday she will run for president in the country’s upcoming elections in 2018, the first presidential race in a new era of peace after more than half a century of civil war.” 

US Refuses to Reiterate Vow to Financially Support Peace in Colombia
http://bit.ly/2ktRd95
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 22, 2017
“President Donald Trump’s pick to be Secretary of State has refused to pledge support for Colombia’s peace process, saying he first needs to “review the details” before he could “determine the extent” of United States backing.”

Colombia and the End of Consensus? Uribe and Congressional Republicans
http://bit.ly/2jmDb7k
Chris Sabatini & Jimena Galindo, Latin America Goes Global, January 5, 2017
“The U.S. Congress is considering the new-generation Peace Colombia as a follow-up to the Plan Colombia that some on the left decried 20 years ago. On February 4th, President Obama announced that he would ask Congress for more than $450 million in aid to help implement the plan. If approved by Congress (approval still pending), Peace Colombia would help with security and counternarcotics, as well as educating and reintegrating members of the FARC. It’s time to focus on the consistency of U.S. policy and national interests. Policy consistency is good policy, and in this case it may end with peace.”

French President Hollande visits Colombia rebels
http://bbc.in/2jZLEPE
BBC News, 25 de enero de 2017
“France has contributed around 20% of the EU’s funding to support Colombia’s peace process… President Hollande was the first French head of state to visit Colombia in almost 30 years. He expressed his support for the peace deal, calling it a model to resolve conflicts around the world.

Peace Negotiations with the ELN

Colombia Peace Talks with ELN Rebels to Begin February 8.
http://reut.rs/2jmLDn8
Julia Symmes Cobb and Helen Murphy, Reuters, January 18, 2017
“Colombia’s government will begin much-delayed formal peace talks with the country’s second-biggest rebel group the ELN on Feb. 8, after the guerrillas release a politician being held hostage, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday.”

El 8 de febrero comenzará negociación formal de paz con el Eln.
http://bit.ly/2ktVg50
El Tiempo, 18 de enero de 2017
“Conoció que tras cinco días de reuniones en Ibarra (Ecuador), las delegaciones del Gobierno y el Eln en los diálogos exploratorios llegaron a acuerdos que permitirán el inicio de un proceso de paz formal con el grupo armado. La fecha, según se dio a conocer, será el próximo 8 de febrero.”

ELN Rebels Reject Colombia’s Transitional Justice System
http://bit.ly/2kbts8o
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 25, 2017
“Colombia’s last-standing Marxist rebel group, the ELN, said Tuesday that in the event of successful peace talks it will not submit to the transitional justice model agreed with the much larger FARC rebel group.The ELN is set to begin formal peace talks with the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos on February 2, three months after the FARC agreed to demobilize and disarm.”

Interview – Colombia’s ELN Rebels Willing to Call Ceasefire Amid Peace Talks
http://reut.rs/2kBv4os
Luis Jaime Acosta, Reuters, January 24, 2017
“The government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) will begin formal peace talks in Ecuador on Feb. 7, once the insurgent group frees a kidnapped politician and authorities pardon two jailed rebels. The sit down will end three years of back and forth between the two sides and hopefully stop a conflict that pit leftist rebels against right-wing paramilitaries and the military, killing over 220,000.”

Colombia Captures ‘ELN Assassins Chief’
http://bit.ly/2jxDSOv
David Maas, Colombia Reports, January 23, 2017
“Colombia’s military on Sunday claimed the capture of an assassin’s chief for the ELN, the country’s last standing Marxist rebel group. The head of the ELN’s hitmen in Arauca, known as ‘El Muerte’ or ‘The Death,’ was caught in Tame, a town in the department of Araua along the Venezuelan border.”

Human Rights Issues

The Frightening Issue that Could Destroy Colombia’s Peace Deal
http://wapo.st/2jFo1ez
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, January 3, 2017
“Colombian rights groups say there has been a clear link between voters’ rejection of the first peace deal and the attacks against leftists that followed, because it ‘re-legitimized the idea of counterinsurgency,’ said Carlos Guevara, director of Somos Defensores, which tracks political violence. ‘It gave fresh oxygen to extremism,” he said, sending the message that “if you’re for peace, then you’re a supporter of the FARC.’”

For the 1st time, Colombia Calls General to Trial for Mass Killing of Civilians
http://bit.ly/2kbj68s
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 27, 2017
“For the first time since the breaking of the “false positives” scandal almost nine years ago, Colombia prosecutors called a general trial to respond for the execution of civilians who were falsely reports as combat kills. Retired General Henry Torres is one of 22 generals who are investigated over the mass killing of civilians that cost the lives of an estimated 4,000 civilians, mainly while former President Alvaro Uribe was in office and particularly when current President Juan Manuel Santos was defense minister.”

Informe anual sobre líderes de organizaciones sociales y defensores de derechos humanos asesinados en el 2016
http://bit.ly/2jFrKc3
Indepaz, 21 de enero de 2017
“Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz- Indepaz señala en este año se presentaron 117 homicidios de líderes sociales y defensores de derechos humanos. Así mismo, la Cumbre Agraria Campesina, Étnica y Popular registra que hubo más de 350 amenazas individuales o colectivas, 46 atentados cometidos con armas de fuego de largo y corto alcance y/o artefactos explosivos y 5 casos de desaparición forzada en contra de dirigentes locales y regionales.”

117 Rights Defenders Assassinated in Colombia in 2016: Report
http://bit.ly/2ktYjdv
Stephen Gill, Colombia Reports, January 25, 2017
“As many as 117 social leaders and human rights defenders were murdered in Colombia in 2016, according to conflict-monitoring NGO Indepaz.The number of homicides of rights leaders registered by the NGO is more than double than reported by the government, which has said 55 rights leaders were killed last year.”

Killings of Colombia rights activists casts shadow over peace deal
http://reut.rs/2jdBs9m
Anastasia Moloney, Reuters, January 25, 2017
“Last year 117 rights activists were killed compared with 105 in 2015, with many murders attributed to shadowy right-wing paramilitary groups furious that Marxist FARC guerillas have been allowed to join society and form a political party under a historic peace deal, according to the Bogota-based Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ).”

Amid Violence, Colombia Rights Activists Need Urgent Protection
http://bit.ly/2jFoMnC
TeleSur, January 16, 2017
“Amid an ongoing wave of fatal violence against Colombian social leaders despite the end of more than half a century of civil war in the country, a top official advocate called Monday for the government to improve protections for activists and human rights defenders, warning that assassinations of such leaders represents ‘an attack on the right to peace.’”

115 Journalists killed in 2016–simply doing their jobs
http://bit.ly/2jFqxBc
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, January 8, 2017
“Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and Russia were the top five most dangerous countries for journalists this year, according to the report, which is compiled for INSI by the Cardiff school of journalism.”

Killing of Colombia’s Human Rights Defenders Continues Relentlessly
http://bit.ly/2ktY566
Richard Kelleher, Colombia Reports, January 12, 2017
“The procession of killings has ignited grave concern from social organizations across Colombia, demanding authorities to capture those responsible.”

Colombia Military Assassinated More Civilians under Uribe than FARC did in 30 years
http://bit.ly/2jFqTrN
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 5, 2017
“Under former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), Colombia’s US-backed security forces murdered more civilians than FARC guerrillas have in more than 30 years. This is the most inconvenient truth Colombia’s electorate will have to accept once a Truth Commission and a Transitional Justice Court take force to seek impartial justice for the country’s 8 million victims.”

Mininterior sostiene que no existe “sistematicidad” en los ataque contra líderes sociales y campesino
http://bit.ly/2k0MlZc
El Espectador, 28 de diciembre de 2016
“El ministro del Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo aseguró que por el momento no se ha encontrado un factor de “sistematicidad” en los ataques registrados en los últimos meses en contra de los defensores de derechos humanos, líderes sociales y campesinos, y representantes de víctimas del conflicto armado.”

Colombia Kidnappings down 92% since 2000, Police say
http://bbc.in/2jxBZ4x
BBC News, December 28, 2016
“Colombia was for years the world’s kidnapping hotspot with human rights group estimating that almost 33,000 people have been seized since 1970. A peace deal with Colombia’s main rebel group and improved security have led to the “historic shift”, police said.

La verdadera cara de la falsa ideología de género
http://bit.ly/2kBGw7B
Andres Bermudez Lievano, La Silla Vacía, 3 de enero de 2017
“Que miles de campesinas como María Concepción puedan tener oportunidades de progresar es una de las ideas del punto agrario en el Acuerdo de paz, que busca poner a las mujeres en el centro de las políticas públicas para el campo.”

En promedio, cada día son abusadas 17 niñas en el país.
http://bit.ly/2k0MlZc
Santiago Valenzuela, El Colombiano, 28 de diciembre de 2017
“Incluyendo todas las edades, en 2016 fueron asesinadas 731 mujeres, 61 más que en 2015. Valle del Cauca fue el departamento con mayor número de casos: 152. Detras, aunque con más población, está Bogota: 88 casos. En tercer lugar está Antioquia, con 81 casos, cuatro casos más que en 2015.”

Colombia raises minimum wage with 7% to $1.18 / hour
http://bit.ly/2kbFeQb
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, January 2, 2017
“‘This is an increase in real terms of 1.5% considering inflation [in 2016], which is 5.5%, and more than 2.5% considering the 2017 perspectives that put inflation between 4 and 4.5%,’ Lopez said.  The minister omitted to mention a recently approved tax reform that raised added value tax from 16% to 19% on the same day minimum wages went up, taking a severe bite out of minimum wage workers’ spending power.”

Statements by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Department of Labor’s Colombia FTA Report
http://bit.ly/2jxyjQ3
America’s Unions, January 11, 2017
“I am pleased that the report released today by the Department of Labor in response to our submission on Colombia’s Free Trade Agreement found significant evidence of inadequate labor inspection and enforcement, abusive subcontracting, failure to prosecute threats and violence against unionists and other failures.

US Labor Department Report Identifies Labor Concerns in Colombia
http://bit.ly/2karjcu
United States Department of Labor, January 11, 2017
“While the OTLA report recognizes meaningful progress made by the Colombian government over the last few years, it also identifies concerns regarding the Colombian government’s Labor Inspectorate, inspection processes, and collection of fines and laws that issues in these areas adverse affect Colombian enforcement of labor laws on freedom of association and collective bargaining.”

Colombia Restarts Controversial Glyphosate Fumigation of Coca
http://bit.ly/2jFeO5Y
TeleSur, January 11, 2017
“Colombia started fumigating crops with glyphosate again, the government announced Wednesday, after the technique was suspended in 2015 over health and environmental concerns.The fumigations began on Jan. 2, said Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas at a press conference, adding the fumigation of the controversial Monsanto-produced herbicide was focused in the northern province of Catatumbo and the southeastern provinces of Nariño and Putumayo. Unlike previous fumigation, which was aerial, the new coca eradication plan consists of manual, land-based spraying.”

 *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.