International Appeal to Stop Violence Against the Peoples in Colombia

Daily killings — the Colombian pandemic

As organizations, platforms, movements, and national, regional, and international articulations, we condemn and vigorously denounce the systematic and selective murders of comrades from rural and urban organizations in Colombia. In 2020 alone, 84 leaders and 24 ex-guerrilla fighters in process of reincorporation have already been killed, without the Colombian government or multilateral institutions having done a responsible follow up of the murders and massacres perpetrated.

Since March 6, when the first case of COVID-19 in Colombia was reported, more than twenty social leaders have been murdered. We stand in solidarity with and demand justice for all those comrades from various Colombian peoples’ organizations. On top of killings, there are constant threats and attacks against trade union and peoples’ leaders in all regions of this South American country. In addition to confinement as a result of COVID-19, communities and their leaders have been exposed to an intensification of violence in their territories due to the presence of a variety of armed groups, including former guerrilla dissident factions, paramilitary forces, drug squads, and the military.

We equally condemn the continued threats and displacements inflicted on members of the leadership and the grassroots peasant, indigenous, trade union, urban, human rights, black community and women’s movements and organizations.

As organizations and platforms of social, political and human rights movements, we have repeatedly denounced the deliberate violation of human rights by the Colombian State, and demanded protection for the leaders of peasant and indigenous organizations and black communities exercising the defense of human rights in this sister Andean nation.

We have witnessed the systemic nature of the violence waged in the territories. We are denouncing the widespread criminalization in Colombia, blessed with government complicity, evidenced by the collusion of the national security forces with the paramilitary structures, extrajudicial executions, the criminalization of leaders, and the unwillingness of the right wing government of Ivan Duque to comply with the agreements signed with the insurgent forces.

The Colombian State institutions and its rulers are fully responsible for their lack of commitment to the Colombian society in terms of fulfilling their mandate to build peace and a country with social justice.

In contrast, in the context of the humanitarian crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the communities, organizations, processes and movements that care for life in the territories and promote an emancipatory political project, have been working proactively organizing support networks for food sovereignty and solidarity exchange to meet the needs of their population, as they have always done historically in their resistance struggle, on the basis of their traditional and ancestral practices and knowledge. However, while doing so, they confront intimidations and death daily.

Therefore, we demand that the attacks and threats to peoples’ lives cease. The government and relevant institutions must guarantee the conditions for people to live in dignity; that the Peace Agreements signed in 2016 between the Colombian State and the FARC -EP insurgent force are fully implemented, including its follow-up and verification mechanisms in collaboration with international institutions, and the special protection mechanisms designed for people whose rights have been violated and who have been victims of forceful displacement; that the peace processes needed with the other Colombian insurgent forces be advanced; and that the paramilitary structures and their multiple factions that are permanently operating be genuinely and effectively dismantled. It is high time to demilitarize the territories and protect and reinstate the guarantees for the enjoyment and exercise of human rights. In the context of the current crisis and vulnerability of the peoples, the State must take urgent action to find solutions for the population and establish protection mechanisms.

We hereby appeal internationally to all social, human rights, peoples’, environmental, workers’ and women’s movements and organizations throughout the Americas and beyond to speak out against these developments and carry out actions to verify and investigate the gravity of the peoples’ plight, denouncing and exposing this situation and urging the Colombian government to fulfill its responsibility and commitment to achieve peace in Colombia.

We offer all our internationalist solidarity to the Colombian movements and organizations.

Jornada Continental por la Democracia y contra el Neoliberalismo
ALBA Movimientos
Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe –ATALC
Confederación Sindical de Trabajadoras/es de las Américas – CSA
Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo – CLOC Vía Campesina
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance – GGJ
Jubileo Sur Américas – JSA
Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres – MMM
Movimiento de Afectadas/os por Represas en América Latina – MAR
PIT – CNT Uruguay

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