Open Individual and Organizational letter on Colombia: Demand the implementation of points 1 & 4 of the Peace Accords and an end to political violence!
Join the hundreds of Colombians and allies who are currently denouncing the emergency situation the country is going through. In Colombia at least one human rights defender, social leader or peace signatory is murdered every day. Join us hold the Colombian and U.S. governments responsible for the humanitarian crisis in the country! Iván Duque’s administration non-compliance with the Peace Accord, signed in 2016 between the Colombian state and the FARC-EP guerrillas, follows the U.S. government’s directives that have undermined the most basic components of the agreement and given its backing to every form of repression of the people.
Mr. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr. Iván Duque Márquez
PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA
CONGRESSES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA
Dear Presidents and Congresspeople,
We, the undersigned, are Colombians, United States-ers, and people from around the world who denounce the humanitarian crisis that the majority of the Colombian population is currently suffering. In Colombia at least one human rights defender, social leader, or peace signatory is murdered every day. According to a Labor Information Agency report on assassinations, “during the government of Iván Duque agrarian conflicts over land, territory and natural resources are related to 75.74 percent of murders.”
We can blame the Colombian government for this humanitarian peace crisis because of its non-compliance with the Peace Accord, signed in 2016 between the Colombian state and the FARC-EP guerrillas. Behind the Colombian government, we find the hand of its patron, the U.S. government, which has undermined the most basic components of the agreement and given its backing to every form of repression of the people.
One of the most serious threats to peace is the Colombian government’s refusal to comply with the agreement with respect to points one and four, which deal with land issues, and illicit crops. This non-compliance has been encouraged by the U.S. government. The people are asking for new crops, new markets, roads to get the crops to market, schools for their children, health clinics, tools to grow new crops, land titles and recognition of their land rights. Instead, they receive lead. We highlight these components because most of the political violence and forced displacement has to do with them, and the non-compliance of the Colombian state.
In the framework of the national strike held on April 28, 2021, the violation of human rights increased, the protocols designed for social protest were ignored, and the systematic murder, sexual abuse, torture, forced disappearance, excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, ocular aggression, and the use of firearms during demonstrations, were implemented among other fundamental violations.
Although the national strike of 2021 had the character of an urban uprising, it must be understood that all struggles in Colombia begin with the struggle for land rights. Moreover, urban struggles are always, in large part, an extension of rural struggles because of the more than 7 million peasants who have been forcibly displaced from their homelands to the cities. Repression by ESMAD (Colombia’s Mobile Anti-Riot Squad) is directed equally against the right to demonstrate in the countryside as in the city. In this sense, there is also a call for a structural reform of the police, and the dismantling of the ESMAD.
As a consequence of the non-compliance with the Peace Accords, we denounce the following:
- Since the implementation of the Peace Accords in November 2016, more than 1,000 social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed.
- During the national strike, while the people demanded peace and justice throughout Colombia, their response was brutal repression, which left at least 87 people dead, more than two hundred detained, and hundreds missing.
- The displacement of peasant, indigenous, and Afro-descendant populations continues to increase. In the first six months of 2020 alone, twice as many displacements were recorded compared to the same period in 2019.
- In 2020, 91 massacres occurred in Colombia. Each of the attacks had at least 3 victims. These figures are double compared to 2019. In the first two months of 2021, 14 massacres had already occurred.
- According to Indepaz, in 2020, 386 people were killed for political reasons, including 310 human rights defenders, 12 family members, and 64 signatories of the Peace Accords.
- By the end of 2020, the number of Peace Accords signatories who surrendered their weapons and have been killed since the signing exceeds 250 victims.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, demand the following from the governments of Colombia and the United States:
- That the government of Colombia truly comply with the Peace Accord, and in particular with Chapters 1 and 4, which address land rights, crops substitution, and rural development. We demand that the government of the United States support this initiative.
- That the Colombian government dismantle, and the U.S. does not finance, the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD), as it has become the primary instrument of state repression against mobilizations in the countryside over land and eradication, and in the cities, against the right to protest.
- That the Colombian and US governments honor the agreement, that they immediately stop all aerial spraying of the countryside, as it is a practice that puts the health of the communities at risk and damages the environment.
- An end to the assassinations and massacres of members of popular movements and signatories of the Peace Accord, and do not allow impunity for the authors and perpetrators of these crimes.
- We demand that the US government immediately end all support for the Colombian military and police and other forms of security aid because of the Colombian government’s failure to meet its obligations under the 2016 Peace Accord.