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OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia Values the FARC-EP’s Transition to Civil Life and the Negotiation Process with the ELN

  November 8, 2017

The Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia of the Organization of American States (MAPP/OAS) highlighted the FARC-EP guerrillas’ transition to civil life and politics and valued the negotiation process between the Government of Colombia and the ELN guerrillas, during today’s presentation of the latest report on the advances and current risks facing the peacebuilding process to the Permanent Council of the Organization.

The Twenty-Third Report was presented by the Chief of the MAPP/OAS, Roberto Menéndez, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC. The report acknowledges the efforts of the Colombian government to improve security through the creation and implementation of the National Commission for Security Guarantees, the Elite Unit of the National Police, the Special Office of the Prosecutor and the strategies of the Military and Police Forces to combat organized armed groups. However, the Mission has also pointed out that the perception of insecurity and insufficiency of such measures still remains among the communities.

The document also draws attention to different threats to peace. According to the report, the ongoing violence between different kinds of illegal armed groups, which are battling for control of the illicit economies and the territories vacated by the FARC-EP, is seriously affecting the civilian population, particularly in rural areas.

The Mission report warns that, as a result of this context of violence, peasant, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are being subjected to extortion, confinement, forced displacement, gender-based violence and the recruitment of minors, among other damages.

During his presentation, the Chief of MAPP/OAS highlighted that “particularly worrying are the targeted killings and the threats against social, community and ethnic leaders that pursue the rights of their communities and territories,” and that, within the framework of its mandate, “the Mission publicly expresses its most vigorous rejection of these attacks, which pose a threat to the peacebuilding process, and from which demobilized FARC-EP members and their families are not exempt.”

Menéndez said “it is necessary to improve security in order to reduce the humanitarian impacts, to investigate and punish crimes, and to implement the peace accords in a timely and coordinated manner, paying special attention to pending debts in terms of reparations to victims and land restitution.”

Additionally, the report makes observations and recommendations on key issues, such as social participation, current and eventual social conflicts, transitional justice, and the reintegration and prison monitoring of former combatants.

For his part, the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González, said “the MAPP/OAS has made a very valuable contribution to the process of national reconciliation.”

This report has been the result of 960 field missions to 500 population centers, as part of the permanent monitoring and accompaniment programs that the MAPP/OAS has been implementing since 2004 in the areas most affected by the armed conflict and the criminality in Colombia.

Reference: E-080/17