IFOR's Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva worked closely with the dedicated international observation program supported by several IFOR branches known as FOR Peace Presence, to describe ongoing attacks on conscientious objectors and human rights defenders in Colombia. On February 2, they submitted a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council about the ongoing situation in Colombia.
The statement explains: " Over a year has passed since the signing of the Peace Accords between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), but the security of human rights defenders in the country is worsening. According to the NGO Somos Defensores, there was a 32% increase in murders of human rights defenders from 2016-2017, as cited in the December report by the Verification Mission from the UN to the Security Council. However, the Bogotá think tank IndePaz put the increase as high as 45%, and Frontline Defenders’ annual report for 2017 indicates that 30% of all human rights’ defenders killed worldwide were Colombian, the single-largest percentage for any country."
The statement details attacks witnessed by FORPP's field team members in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó:
"As recently as December 29, 2017, one of FORPP’s field team members witnessed five armed men, allegedly members of the paramilitary successor group ‘Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia’ (AGC), invade the Peace Community’s storehouse on the outskirts of its central settlement and attempted to kill Germán Graciano Posso, the legal representative, as well as other community leaders. Peace Community members acting in self-defense were able to immobilize and detain two of the attackers, preventing any major injuries. They then turned the two men into the custody of the Colombian Attorney General’s Investigative Unit in the presence of Deputy Minister of the Interior Horacio Guerrera. We were troubled to learn that these two men were released after just 24 hours."
To read the full statement, click here