The EU monitors the increase in violence in Colombia, five years after the Peace Accords

In Colombia, 2021 has become the most violent start to the year, in terms of assassinations of social leaders, activists, and former guerrillas since the Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC was signed in 2016. According to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a transitional justice mechanism through which crimes committed during the conflict are investigated and tried. So far this year there has been one murder every four days. Civil society asks the Colombian government to stop focusing on its military control in order to dismantle this violence and begin to “attack its financing networks.”

“We hoped that the Government would implement comprehensive measures, public policies that could target all those different causes of violence, not only focus on the military sphere, on the permanence of armed groups but also facilitate the conditions for peasant communities of these communities historically in territories affected by the conflict reduce the social gap so strong that there is with the most important cities of Colombia “, points out Sebastián Escobar Uribe, Penal Area Coordinator of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ collective (CAJAR), a human rights organization with I work in Colombia.

The European reaction

The European Parliament’s subcommittee on Human Rights launches an alert regarding the lack of security in the country. In 2016, the EU created the European Fund for Peace in Colombia, endowed with 127 million euros for rural development projects, reintegration of ex-combatants and citizen participation of vulnerable communities, such as victims and indigenous people.

“One of the objectives that the European Union also has is to put an end to the structural deficiencies of the Colombian State that largely explain what has happened in the country during the last decades. Especially in terms of security. Today, Colombia is an incomplete state, dysfunctional in some parts of its territory, something that causes or opens the door to the murders of social leaders, human rights defenders or the serious problems that ex-combatants are having with alarming numbers regarding their murders. ”, Explains Javi López, Spanish MEP, S&D.

Colombian social organizations criticize that the current government of Iván Duque does not address the structural causes of the conflict. The presidential advisor for stabilization and consolidation defends himself and affirms that he is working on a long-term program. “We have done very detailed planning to take advantage of that 15-year period and overcome so many issues that Colombia had to face decades ago with or without agreements, and we are producing results that will make this process in December 2021 irreversible” , declares Emilio Archila, Presidential Advisor for stabilization and consolidation.

The challenges agreed upon in the historic agreement include support for the victims, the reincorporation of former combatants, and the process of voluntary substitution of illicit crops, through which the Government convinces peasant families to substitute the coca for another type of alternative cultivation.