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OAS Mission in Support of Peace in Colombia Welcomes Position of Government of Colombia on the Peace Process and Signals Urgent Challenges

  August 9, 2018

The Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia of the Organization of American States (MAPP/OAS) recognized the important advances made in the peace process in recent years, which translate into the disarmament and demobilization of the former FARC-EP, the creation of a normative and institutional framework for peace, and the promotion of social participation, among other achievements, during the presentation of its twenty-fourth report to the Permanent Council of the Organization.

During the presentation of the report, the Chief of the Mission, Roberto Menéndez, reiterated his greeting to the Government of President Iván Duque, while he welcomed his expressed disposition to continue advancing in the construction of peace.

The report calls attention to those challenges and threats to peace that require an urgent and comprehensive approach, not only by the new government, but by the State as a whole. The document assesses the efforts and strategies of government security forces, but also notes the inability of the State to provide full security guarantees due to the insufficient presence and territorial control of the State. The Mission calls for particular attention to the security context in border areas.

According to the report, serious concern for the civilian population is caused by the violent actions of illegal armed groups such as the ELN, the Gulf Clan and the so-called "dissidence.” There is also concern about persistent violence against social, communal, peasant, ethnic and human rights leaders in the country, who have been victims of assassinations, threats, displacement and stigmatization. The Mission warns that, as a result of these attacks, the weakening of the organizational fabric and the exercise of rights in the communities is evident, which in turn puts at risk the implementation of the peace process and advances in citizen participation.

“It will be critical that the new government redouble its efforts to prevent all kinds of aggressions against leaders, protect them effectively and prosecute the material and intellectual authors in a timely manner, avoiding at all costs impunity and the constant re-victimization of community leadership," said Menéndez.

The report, which is the result of 1,500 field missions between February 1 and August 31, 2017, also warns that other challenges are related to the substitution of illicit crops, comprehensive rural reform and collective reparation. These processes initially generated expectations, but failures and disruptions in their implementation have led to distrust in institutions.

The MAPP/OAS will soon mark 15 years of work in Colombia, and today maintains its commitment to continue contributing to the government and the Colombian people in the consolidation of peace, with its own vision, built from experience. The Mission, with a mandate in force until 2021, will continue its independent accompaniment and monitoring work in the areas most affected by the armed conflict and crime, thanks to the support of its donor countries.

Reference: E-050/18