Human rights workers, union leaders massacred while Colombia talks peace with FARC

The massacre of Colombian human rights defenders and union leaders continues at an alarming rate, unaffected by peace talks, an Amnesty International investigator said this week.

Amnesty International

(Photo credit: AslanMedia) Union leaders and human rights defenders continue to be assassinated at alarming rates, according to a United Nations report on Colombia.

“The peace talks represent the best opportunity in over a decade to put an end to the 50-year-old armed conflict. However, the warring parties continue to be responsible for appalling serious human rights violations and abuses. These include forced displacement, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, abductions, and enforced disappearances,” Marcelo Pollack, Amnesty International’s researcher on Colombia stated on the international human rights organization’s webpage.

There were 70 human rights defenders and at least 27 members of trade unions killed in 2013, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ preliminary annual Colombia review.

Pollack said the Colombian government has failed to act in key areas:

* Paramilitary groups have not been dismantled and continue to commit a large share of human rights abuses, despite a near decade-long ‘demobilization’ process.

* Extrajudicial executions have diminished, but not disappeared. And the state of near impunity continues for assassins.

* Guerrilla groups have not been convinced to recognize human rights and continue abuses such as child recruitment, mining land with explosives, and civilian displacement.

* The government has failed to stop the backlash of violence against land restitution claimants. Colombia has almost six million internally displaced persons. The land restitution law of 2012 has been implemented slowly, and the process has been sharply criticized for the lack of protection claimants receive if they attempt to use the law.

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

5 responses to “Human rights workers, union leaders massacred while Colombia talks peace with FARC”

  1. kbeezyisviral says :

    Thanks for sharing. It’s a shame the government is completely reufuting these travesties, but what’s new?

    • Connecting Colombias says :

      Sadly, not enough is new. As long as people know they can get away with intimidation, torture and murder, they will continue to use these tactics. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • kbeezyisviral says :

        Unfortunately, this is the case. Once government intervention comes into play people will be more fearful to try and use these tactics to get ahead. I should be back quite soon for a visit. Keep up the good work, my friend.

  2. colombiadiaries says :

    This report shows how many atrocities are committed outside the scope of the armed conflict. Problems with paramilitaries, extrajudicial executions, impunity and land restitution are too common. While the conflict has provided a convenient ‘excuse’ for these at times, I doubt its resolution will solve these issues.

    • Connecting Colombias says :

      Yes, sometimes it seems the outside world only wants to pay attention to the good changes in Colombia, and there are some. But we cannot forget the atrocities which are committed against decent people on a daily basis. I agree the armed conflict will not end any of these problems, it might even exacerbate some of them. But, I hope it will allow society to refocus on some of these urgent issues which always seem overshadowed by the conflict.

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