Political recommendations: the peace agreement, the ethnic chapter and the dismantling of paramilitarism – Colombia
Social leaders are essential to ensure that the 2016 peace accords are respected so that Colombia is more peaceful, politically inclusive and egalitarian.
President Iván Duque’s government has undermined the peace by showing limited political will to move forward with its implementation, cutting back on needed funding, and supporting legislative actions that would weaken core aspects of the deal and weaken peace. transitional justice.
More specifically, several aspects of peace agreements, essential to the work of social leaders, are under sustained pressure. It is essential that the international community put pressure on the Colombian government to strengthen them.
The Colombian government can support the grassroots work of social leaders by implementing the following key provisions of peace agreements:
THE ETHNIC CHAPTER
Afro-Colombian, palanqueros and indigenous communities are the custodians of Colombia’s biodiversity and rich mineral and natural resources. The 1991 political constitution recognized Colombia as a multi-ethnic society and paved the way for these communities to legally claim their collective land titles, as well as the right to free, prior and informed consent on projects and policies affecting their territories.
The conflict in Colombia has disproportionately affected Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples
Already affected by the legacy of slavery, colonialism and structural racism, ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by internal armed conflict, violence, displacement and abuse. During the conflict which lasted more than fifty years, entire communities were internally displaced by guerrillas, soldiers, paramilitaries and / or economic and political interests interested in their land and access to it. its resources and the advancement of legal and illegal economies. They suffered irreparable harm through massacres and the desecration of their culture and traditions.
The campaign for the ethnic chapter
At the start of the peace negotiations, it became evident that neither the Colombian government nor the FARC guerrillas recognized the historic, significant and differentiated challenges faced by Afro-descendant and indigenous communities. As such, Afro-Colombian and indigenous territorial authorities, grassroots organizations and victims’ organizations have joined forces to launch a global campaign to reverse the trend.
The result was the Ethnic Chapter, a set of cross-cutting principles that ensure that the entire agreement is implemented with a differentiated ethnic orientation and the participation of these communities to ensure its effective implementation in areas where these ethnic groups are present.
The ethnic chapter guarantees these groups the right to prior consultation on peace-related efforts and supports self-protection mechanisms, including indigenous guards and Cimarrona needed to ensure security in remote and geographically isolated areas where good people live. many of these communities.
The Duque administration ignored the ethnic chapter
The Duque administration has shown no interest in the implementation of the ethnic chapter. He has not advanced the high-level Ethnic Commission set up to monitor and enforce the ethnic chapter, nor consulted with ethnic communities as he flirts with the restart of aerial fumigation of coca fields.
Rather than advancing the protection mechanisms established in the agreements, it has resorted to militaristic and uncompromising security approaches that have failed in the past and only put these groups at risk.
DISMANTLING OF ILLEGAL ARMED GROUPS TO ENSURE COMPLETE PEACE
To advance in the fight against targeted violence against social leaders, the Colombian government should dismantle the successor paramilitary networks that fuel the violence against them. This should include the following steps:
The peace accords created a body known as the National Commission for Security Guarantees (which is supposed to meet once a month to guide state policy on dismantling criminal groups; however, President Duque has only summoned it several times). The Colombian government should set a deadline for the commission to develop and implement a plan to dismantle these illegal groups and protect demobilized communities, human rights defenders and combatants, using the vast contribution already provided by human defenders and other civil society leaders during the four-year delay in implementing this crucial commitment of the peace agreement.
The Colombian government should ensure that the attorney general’s office makes measurable progress in investigating and prosecuting not only those who commit attacks against social leaders, but also those who give order. This means ensuring that the Special Investigative Unit of the Attorney General’s Office investigate, prosecute and dismantle paramilitary successors and organized criminal groups, which was the unit’s original and still unfilled mandate (rather than being limited to investigating the killings of social leaders without focusing on dismantling the structures behind them).