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Colombia News Brief for March 24-31, 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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FarcWomen
Source: The Guardian/Photo: Kiran Stallone

Peace Accord Implementation


 100 días del acuerdo de paz, empezó el cara a cara de negociadores de gobierno y Farc
El Espectador, 27 de marzo de 2017
“Son varios los temas que tendrán que abordar los negociadores. Por ejemplo, el retraso en trámite de las leyes y reformas constitucionales con las que se creará la arquitectura jurídica del acuerdo, las garantías de seguridad de quienes dejen las armas y de los líderes sociales, y los problemas que se dieron en la construcción de las zonas de concentración.”

Letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Urging Support for Peace in Colombia
U.S. Civil Society Organizations, March 30, 2017

“We urge the State Department to provide full backing to the  peace accords agreed over
years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC.  We also urge that the State Department include in its budget the full amount pledged by the previous U.S. administration for peace accord implementation, as well as humanitarian assistance for those displaced by continued violence.” [Comunicado de Prensa en Español

 ¿Qué tan en el centro de la JEP quedaron las víctimas?
Verdad Abierta, 27 de marzo de 2017
“Las formas en las que ellas podrán participar en la justicia transicional quedó bajo la potestad de los futuros magistrados, lo que incrementa las dudas de si tendrán muchos espacios o no.”

 Rendidos en Tumaco: la cara más oscura de las Farc
Natalia Arenas, La Silla Vacía, 29 de marzo de 2017
“Aunque la noticia de los 117 jóvenes que se entregaron ayer en Tumaco y que aseguran ser milicianos de las Farc es positiva, por ahora, las Farc no los ha reconocido porque muchos de ellos son lo que la guerrilla llama “el ripio”, la cara más oscura de las Farc. Se trata de traquetos que fueron reclutados en el 2013 por el entonces comandante del Frente Daniel Aldana de las Farc alias ‘Oliver’, que los integró a las redes de apoyo al terrorismo (RAT), y con ellos dominó la extorsión, el secuestro, los homicidios y las rutas del narcotráfico en Tumaco, como contó La Silla Pacífico.”

 The feminists of Farc: ‘We are not demobilising, we are mobilising Politically”
Kiran Stallone and Julia Zulver, The Guardian, March 27, 2017
“Adriana says the next step is to educate Colombian society about social justice. She and her female Farc combatants, presently living in a UN-monitored demobilisation camp, say they are on a mission to empower everyday women about their rights. “We are not demobilising, we are mobilising politically,” she emphasises.”

 Colombia’s City of Women Rebuilds Homes and Hope
 Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, March 27, 2017
How Colombia ensures its displaced population has access to housing is key to forging lasting peace and rebuilding their lives, political analysts say. For many, the City of Women – where residents joined forces to build houses together and petition for title deeds – could prove the model to follow.”

 PHOTO ESSAY: Return from the Jungle
Newsha Tavakolian, The Intercept, March 25, 2017
“When Newsha Tavakolian arrived in the Colombian jungle to document the women guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, she knew she would witness history. War had recently ended and the women’s lives would change. After 50 years of clandestine warfare, peace meant the Colombian government would build houses for former guerrillas who lived on the run in the wilderness, and send teachers to meet with them weekly, to “teach them how to be a normal citizen,” Tavakolian says.”

 Colombia’s Coca Substitution Pilot Suspended After Farmers Rise Up
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, March 26, 2017
“Colombia suspended a coca crop substitution pilot program after locals turned against the project, claiming the government failed to honor commitments made to coca-growing communities in a peace deal with Marxist FARC guerrillas.”


Ongoing Peace Talks with the ELN

‘Mientras sigan asesinatos, no se firmará cese del fuego con ELN’: Juan Camilo Restrepo
El Espectador, 28 de marzo de 2017
“Restrepo explicó que el proceso de paz con las Farc tardó cerca de cinco años, y las negociaciones con el ELN apenas van cinco semanas. Pero hizo en énfasis en que “mientras no se dé señales de descalamiento no se firmará un acuerdo de cese al fuego”, dijo el negociador.”

 Year after agreement to negotiate, ELN announces 1st progress on landmines
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, March 30, 2017
“On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of peace talks with Colombia’s government, ELN rebels said Thursday an agreement on landmine removal is impending… “We hope that on April 7 when the first round closes, we will be able to show the first elements of a deal,” the guerrillas’ chief negotiator, Pablo Beltrán, said in an interview with Caracol Radio in reference to landmine removal.”


Human Rights Issues

 Colombia: Civilians Killed in Riverside Community
Human Rights Watch, March 27, 2017

“Five community members were shot and killed in unclear circumstances in the western Colombian province of Chocó on the night of March 25, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The Colombian government should take immediate measures to investigate the deaths and aid families who have been displaced.”

 Colombia ‘panic buttons’ Expose Activists
Frank Bajak, Associated Press, March 27, 2017
“It is supposed to help protect human-rights activists, labor organizers and journalists working in risky environments, but a GPS-enabled “panic button” that Colombia’s government has issued to about 400 people could be exposing them to more peril.”

Van 28: asesinan a otro líder, ahora en Putumayo
Mario Zamudio Palma, ¡PACIFISTA!, 28 de marzo de 2017
“Este lunes a la 1 de la mañana, desconocidos llegaron a la casa del presidente de la Junta de Acción Comunal de La Unión, Alvino Rosero, y lo asesinaron. Esta región del país es uno de los sitios con mayor cantidad de cultivos ilícitos del país, y este asesinato sucede en medio del aumento de plantaciones de hoja de coca, de los planes de sustitución de cultivos por parte del gobierno y una preocupación internacional por luchar contra las drogas.”

98% of Cajamarca Residents Vote Against Gold Mining in Colombia
TeleSUR, March 27, 2017
“With a majority voting “No” in a popular referendum Sunday, local communities in Colombia’s Cajamarca department scored a historic victory against transnational mining giant AngloGold Ashanti, likely putting a definitive end to the La Colosa project and setting a precedent for the whole country.”

 Colombia Government Overrules Cajamarca Mining Ban Referendum
BBC News, March 28, 2017

“The Colombian government says it will overrule the result of a referendum held in the town of Cajamarca, where 98% of residents voted against a major gold mining project.”

 

*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.