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Colombia News Brief for July 16 – July 23, 2019

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

Source: Gustavo Torrijos / El Espectador

GOVERNMENT-FARC PEACE PROCESS

Report: Peace with justice: The Colombian experience with transitional justice
Ted Piccone, Brookings, July 2019
“Thirty months after Colombians adopted the historic agreement to much international applause, what can be said about Colombia’s complex process to mete out enough justice to heal the wounds of war and prevent a return to violence?”

‘Firmly united’ Security Council can bolster Colombia’s efforts to secure lasting peace, says UN envoy
UN News, July 19, 2019
“Briefing the Council just days after its members returned from the South American country, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, said that ‘as you heard repeatedly during the visit, the Council’s steadfast and unified support has been critical to these achievements, and the Colombian people and institutions are deeply grateful to the Security Council.’”

The Security Council Comes to Express its Full Support for the Peace Process in Colombia
Carlos Ruiz Massieu, UN Verification Mission to Colombia, July 11, 2019
“This Thursday, the United Nations Security Council arrives in Colombia to assess developments in the peace process and to reiterate support for its implementation. ‘All members of the Council are fully committed to and supportive of the peace process in Colombia,’ said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu. ‘They come to reiterate that support, to evaluate first-hand the evolution and implementation of the Peace Agreement, and also to evaluate our work,’ noted Ruiz Massieu.”

“Crímenes a excombatientes son la más grave amenaza al proceso de paz”: Defendamos la Paz a ONU
El Espectador, 12 de julio de 2019
“El movimiento ciudadano Defendamos la Paz envió un comunicado como precedente a la visita del Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas que llegó ayer al país para observar, de primera mano, la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz, además de reunirse con miembros del Gobierno, Congreso, FARC, Comisión de la Verdad, JEP y organizaciones de la sociedad civil.”

Killing of FARC members biggest threat to peace: advocates tell UN security council
Brenden Paulsen, Colombia Reports, July 13, 2019
“Defendamos la Paz, a citizen movement made up of politicians, victims representative, demobilized rebel leaders and civil society groups, wrote to the ambassadors that the killing of FARC members is a ‘a systematic chain of violence against those who laid down their arms in various regions of the country.’”

FARC Reaffirms Commitment to Reconciliation and Truth in Colombia
Prensa Latina, July 15, 2019
“The National Political Council of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons (FARC) party affirmed that it will work tirelessly for reconciliation, truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition in Colombia. During a political statement after its meeting this weekend, the Council expressed support for the ‘Public Declaration issued by our National Political Council, regarding the non-appearance of Jesus Santrich at the Supreme Court of Justice.’”

“Santrich” se autoexcluyó del partido: FARC
El Espectador, 14 de julio de 2019
“Este domingo, la dirección de la FARC aseguró que ‘Jesús Santrich’, por quien el Gobierno ofrece una recompensa de hasta $3.000 millones  para dar con su paradero, se ‘autoexcluyó’ del partido político al no cumplir con la justicia y desatender la citación que le hizo la Corte Suprema de Justicia el pasado 9 de julio por un proceso en su contra por presunta participación en narcotráfico.”

El fugitivo Jesús Santrich sería el octavo jefe de ‘los Caminantes’
El Tiempo, 15 de julio de 2019
“El incumplimiento del exjefe guerrillero y representante a la Cámara Jesús Santrich a la indagatoria en la Corte Suprema de Justicia, la cual lo investiga por narcotráfico, lo convirtió en el primer y más alto excomandante de las Farc que firmó la paz en ser prófugo de la justicia.”

Miembros de FARC pidieron permiso a la JEP para viajar a Venezuela
El Espectador, 12 de julio de 2019
“Aunque el argumento que entregaron a la JEP tiene que ver con un evento político que se llevará a cabo en el país vecino, el viaje se da en momentos en que los rumores apuntan a que el exguerrillero ‘Jesús Santrich’ habría escapado hacia Venezuela, en donde también se encontraría Iván Márquez.”

Red Cross says peace elusive as UN council heads to Colombia
Edith M. Lederer, AP News, July 11, 2019
“The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that conflicts in Colombia are ongoing and the humanitarian situation has worsened as the U.N. Security Council heads to the South American nation to assess progress toward peace.”

GOVERNMENT-ELN PEACE PROCESS

El concepto jurídico que sugiere que violar protocolos con el Eln es perfidia
El Espectador, 12 de julio de 2019
“La fundación Cultura de Paz, que preside el exdirector general de la Unesco Federico Mayor Zaragoza, envió un concepto al presidente Duque que explica a qué se expondrían Cuba, o Noruega, si accede a la pretensión de Colombia de capturar a miembros del Eln y entregarlos a las autoridades.”

Peace is war as armed groups roil Colombia’s lawless border region
Joe Parkin Daniels, The Guardian, July 20, 2019
“After the peace deal, another rebel group, the National Liberation Army (or ELN), stepped into the power vacuum left by the Farc, and is now taking advantage of turmoil in Venezuela to expand as far as Guyana.”

ELN shuts down southwest Colombia to commemorate the 50th anniversary
Stephen Gill, Colombia Reports, July 16, 2019
“Colombia’s ELN rebels cut off southwest Colombia from the rest of the country on Monday to commemorate the group’s 55th anniversary. The guerrillas ordered locals in the west of the Nariño province to suspend all commercial activity for 72 hours. The so-called ‘armed strike’ particularly affects Tumaco, a Pacific port town that has long been submerged in violence.”

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Diez razones más para salir a la calle el 26 de julio – 26JulioElGrito
Defendamos La Paz, Línea Del Medio, 22 de julio de 2019
“A raíz del asesinato de María del Pilar Hurtado en Tierralta, Córdoba, Defendamos la Paz convocó a la ciudadanía a movilizarse el próximo 26 de julio y elevar un clamor nacional para que se acaben los asesinatos sistemáticos de lideresas y líderes sociales en el país.”

#MarchemosPorLosLíderes
Semana, 21 de julio de 2019
“Este viernes, los colombianos saldrán a las calles para respaldar a líderes y defensores de derechos humanos en el país y rechazar su asesinato. Las últimas cifras demuestran un panorama cada vez peor para estos héroes.”

Reducción de homicidios a líderes sociales en gobierno Duque es cuestionable
Luisa Fernanda Gómez Cruz, Colombia Check, 18 de junio de 2019
“De acuerdo con el comunicado de prensa adjunto al final del trino, la cifra de reducción del 32 por ciento ‘tiene su origen en el comparativo de los 88 asesinatos de líderes sociales ocurridos entre el 7 de agosto de 2017 y el 25 de mayo de 2018, en el gobierno anterior, con los 60 homicidios registrados entre el 7 de agosto de 2018 y el 25 de mayo de 2019, en el periodo de Gobierno del Presidente Duque’.”

VIDEO: La victimización contra líderes y lideresas sociales
Ariel Ávila, YouTube, 21 de junio de 2019
In this video, Ariel Avila explains how the killings of Colombian social leaders are indeed systematic while also tackling the 30% statistic pointing out the peaks and troughs of violence around electoral periods.

Las medidas del Gobierno para proteger a líderes de sustitución de cultivos
El Espectador, 16 de julio de 2019
“En Tumaco (Nariño), zona donde han sido asesinados una docena de estos líderes, el ejecutivo lanzó un programa para evitar que los sigan matando por cuenta de impulsar la sustitución voluntaria de cultivos de uso ilícito por otros. Según el Gobierno, a la fecha en todo el país han sido asesinados 58 de estos líderes.”

Duque reconoce que es difícil proteger a siete millones de líderes sociales
Jaime Ortega Carrascal, El Espectador, 17 de julio de 2019
“El presidente Iván Duque reconoció que es ‘difícil’ proteger a los ‘más de siete millones de líderes sociales’ que hay en el país. Por ello, ante el asesinato sistemático de 462 de ellos desde la firma del Acuerdo de Paz en 2016, según datos de la Defensoría del Pueblo, Duque abogó por mejorar las medidas de protección colectiva y llevar a cabo acciones rápidas en casos específicos de amenazas en contra de la vida de estos actores.”

Human rights advocates want Colombia’s war crimes tribunal to try businessman and politicians
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, July 17, 2019
“Human rights advocates requested Colombia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday to broaden the powers of the country’s war crimes tribunal to include businessmen and politicians accused of war crimes. According to the Jose Alvear Lawyer’s Collective, multiple human rights groups filed the petition that requests the court to overrule an article in the statutory law of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) limits the court’s powers to summon only members of the military or the demobilized FARC guerrilla group.”

Paramilitary deadline expires, but black rights leaders refuse to leave southwest Colombia
Brendan Paulsen, Colombia Reports, July 16, 2019
“Far-right group Aguilas Negras gave awarded environmentalist Francia Marquez and other black minority leaders until Monday to leave southwest Colombia or be killed. They stayed.
In a press conference in the town of Suarez, Marquez and the other leaders who have opposed illegal mining projects in the Cauca province announced that they weren’t going anywhere and would keep working for the defense of their territory.”

Colombian Indigenous People Join March for Peace
Prensa Latina, July 19, 2019
“The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), the highest representation of the natives in this country, said they will also join the march for the defense of life on July 26. ‘We call on all our organizations, indigenous communities, social and popular sectors and the whole Colombian society to mobilize massively for the defense of life, for the defense of social and community leaders who are being assassinated by growing violence in our country,’ ONIC expressed through a video on its Twitter account.”

Colombia reduced deforestation levels for first time since FARC peace deal
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, July 11, 2019
“Deforestation levels in Colombia surprisingly fell in 2018 for the first time since a 2016 peace deal with FARC guerrillas that triggered a spike. According to Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano, 197,000 hectares of forest disappeared in 2018. This is a 10% decrease compared to 2017 when Colombia lost almost 220,000 hectares of forest.”

DRUG POLICY

Colombia can’t beat coca production for the air. It needs rural investment and reform.
Christopher Sabatini and Victoria Gaytan, The Washington Post, July 19, 2019
“Four years after Colombia suspended the controversial policy of aerial fumigation to kill coca plants, President Iván Duque is hoping to restart it. His government is making the case (with the not-so-subtle support of the U.S. government) against a backdrop of historically high levels of coca production and the hobbled 2016 peace plan, negotiated by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, to end a 52-year civil war.”

Duque firma reforma que elimina conexidad del narcotráfico y secuestro con el delito político
El Espectador, 16 de julio de 2019
El presidente de la República, Iván Duque, promulgó este martes el Acto Legislativo que elimina la conexidad del narcotráfico y el secuestro con el delito político. Un asunto que se había convertido en punto de honor para el gobierno actual, dado que siempre se mostró en contra de que el Acuerdo de Paz con la hoy desarmada guerrilla de las Farc incluyera dicha conexidad y, por ende, la posibilidad de que los exguerrilleros fueran amnistiados.

Resurgence of Coca in Putumayo Reflects Colombia’s Failed Strategy
Luisa María Acosta, InSight Crime, July 12, 2019
“The south of Putumayo has re-emerged as Colombia’s second-largest coca producing center, following a period of demobilizations and crop substitutions that had led to a decrease in coca production.”

Líos de la sustitución ratifican el fracaso del posconflicto en sur de Córdoba
Juan Pablo Pérez B, La Silla Vacía, 14 de julio de 2019
“En el último mes, las bandas criminales que operan y están en guerra en el sur de Córdoba le han dado un fuerte golpe al programa de sustitución de cultivos, pues han asesinado, con crueldad, a dos de sus integrantes. Aunque no se sabe si ese era el motivo, el hecho ha causado terror entre los beneficiarios de la sustitución.”

US drug trafficking claim against missing FARC leader increasingly confusing
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, July 16, 2019
“Colombia’s Supreme Court is at a standstill in the drug trafficking case against FARC leader Jesus Santrich as authorities and a DEA informant left the court with contradictory claims. The US Department of Justice has so far refused to either surrender evidence or allow the court to interrogate ‘Marlon Marin,’ the DEA informant who accused Santrich of conspiring to traffic drugs.”

* 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.