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Colombia News Brief for March 4 – June 14, 2019

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Date: Jun 14, 2019

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: Carlos Ortega / El Tiempo

This is an abbreviated news brief covering some of the most noteworthy developments of the last few months. The Colombia News Brief will be back up and running starting next week. Thank you for your patience!

Comunicado Público: Organizaciones Internacionales de la Sociedad Civil manifiestan su seria preocupación por la grave crisis Humanitaria y de Derechos Humanos en Colombia que pone en riesgo la sostenibilidad del proceso de paz
30 de mayo de 2019

“Solicitamos al cuerpo diplomático acreditado en Colombia, a la comunidad internacional y a los países acompañantes del proceso de paz exigir al gobierno colombiano cumplir con el Acuerdo Final y que tome medidas para que esta etapa de implementación no sea más sangrienta que el mismo conflicto que pretende superar.”

Murdered Trade Unionists: The Truth Behind Colombia’s Trade Agreement
Cathy Feingold, AFL-CIO, May 16, 2019

“The ongoing failure to address egregious worker rights violations and violence against trade unionists in Colombia underscores the lack of effective enforcement mechanism in our current trade model. The United States must address the vain attempts by the Colombian government to uphold its commitments outlined in the TPA and ensure that any future trade agreements … incorporate an effective mechanism that ensures that working families’ lives can benefit from trade.”

A Briceño llegó el Estado, pero no la paz
Bibiana Ramirez, Verdad Abierta, 10 de abril de 2019

“Donde antes hubo cultivos de hoja de coca, hoy abunda la maleza. Briceño fue mostrado al país y al mundo como ejemplo de sustitución voluntaria, pero la realidad actual es otra: quienes erradicaron se quedaron sin cultivos, sin proyectos y nuevamente la violencia está generando miedo e incertidumbre.”

En aumento violencia política en municipios priorizados para la paz
Sebastián Forero Rueda, El Espectador, 26 de abril de 2019

“12 de esas 16 regiones [priorizadas para la paz] han presentado algún tipo de agresión considerada por la entidad como violencia política, es decir, aquella dirigida a quienes ejercen un liderazgo social en el territorio y a quienes aspiran a cargos de elección popular o son dirigentes de partidos, colectividades o movimientos políticos.”

Exclusive: Thousands of Colombian FARC rebels return to arms despite peace accord – military intelligence report
Luis Jaime Acosta and Helen Murphy, Reuters, June 5, 2019

“Sergio Guzman, director of Colombia Risk Analysis, a Bogota-based political risk consultancy, said government attempts to ‘reinsert’ former rebels back into civilian life had been stymied by violence and discrimination and the failure of some employment projects created in tandem with the peace accord.”

El ejército de Colombia revoca la orden de duplicar los ataques a rebeldes y criminales
Nicholas Casey, The New York Times, 21 de mayo de 2019

“Un orden que al parecer todavía está en vigor instruye a los oficiales a no ‘exigir la perfección’ al ejecutar los ataques, incluso si hay dudas considerables respecto a los objetivos sobre los que se despliegan.”

Colombia Army’s New Kill Orders Send Chills Down Ranks
Nicholas Casey, The New York Times, May 21, 2019

“In a meeting recounted by one of the officers, a general ordered commanders to “do anything” to boost their results, even if it meant ‘allying ourselves’ with armed criminal groups to get information on targets, a divide-and-conquer strategy.”

Colombia’s Congress Debates Censuring Defense Minister Over Army Kill Orders
Nicholas Casey, The New York Times, June 10, 2019

“The hearing to discipline the minister, Guillermo Botero, came three weeks after The New York Times revealed new orders instructing top army commanders to “double the results” of their military missions against guerrilla, paramilitary and criminal groups. The orders sent a chill down the ranks of the military, and some senior commanders said the pressure to carry out attacks would mean high civilian casualties and had already led to suspicious deaths.”

Colombia’s Peace is Too Precious to Abandon
The Editorial Board, The New York Times, May 23, 2019

“Putting further stress on the peace deal, two former FARC leaders, including the lead peace negotiator, Iván Márquez, last month refused to appear before the tribunals. On Monday, on social media, Mr. Márquez said it was a mistake for the rebels to have surrendered their weapons.”

International Civil Society Organizations Warn of Human Rights Crisis Jeopardizing Peace Accords
Washington Office on Latin America, June 7, 2019

“The article makes reference to the recent New York Times’ article exposing military directives demanding increased body counts, the murder of former FARC combatant Dimar Torres on April 22, and the 62 social leaders murdered so far in 2019.”

Churches pledge support for Colombia’s human rights defenders
The Lutheran World Federation, June 11, 2019

“A former legal advisor to the FARC and advisor on the dialogue with another guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), said peace cannot prevail if Colombia’s current president Ivan Duque continues to roll back reforms agreed to by his predecessor. He said ‘the international community must put pressure on the president’ to continue talks with the ELN and ‘to avoid a dangerous breakdown of dialogue’ in the country. “

Nueva polémica por énfasis del Gobierno en erradicación forzada
El Tiempo, 14 de junio de 2019

“Lo que llama la atención es que mientras el Gobierno baja su apuesta por la sustitución voluntaria de cultivos ilegales, las cifras de la ONU indican que el 94 por ciento de los campesinos han cumplido con la erradicación y que la resiembra solo es del 0,6 por ciento.”

* 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.