The challenge for 2020 with former guerrillas in Colombia

Colombia ended 2019 with the publication of a United Nations report that demonstrates the few security measures that are being offered to former combatants of the former FARC guerrillas. The report speaks of the death of 435, Dimar Torres being one of the best known cases.

Signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC.

Signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC. / Photo: Government of Chile

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: El reto con los exguerrilleros en Colombia para 2020

According to the report , 77 former FARC ex-combatants and 86 social leaders were killed in 2019, becoming the year of most murders since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016. In total, since the signing, 173 former guerrillas have been killed, which means that only in 2019 there were almost half of the cases.

The main reason is vulnerability in the communities in which both ex-combatants and social leaders live, and the lack of resources and protection provided to them. That being the case, the defenders have to fight for their lives as they can, because the State has proven not to do enough.

Given this, the United Nations reaffirmed "the importance of strengthening the presence of the State in several areas of the country to protect ex-combatants and social leaders and human rights defenders."

In a statement published in October on the partial report, the UN said that the Government's efforts to increase security and open investigations into crimes had increased, but that even the lack of resources devoted to this issue was preventing the killing. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia "denounced that more than 8,000 (of the 13,000 left by the firm) ex-combatants living outside the old territorial areas have limited access to the benefits of reintegration," which has been the main reason to create perfect scenarios for the murders.

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The lack of security has made them vulnerable not only to death at the hands of other groups or even presumably by state agents, but they have also become an easy target for recruitment by other guerrillas. Similarly, another of the Government's main challenges in this area is to ensure the reintegration processes that allow ex-combatants to start their lives again away from the guerrilla past.

The deaths are also added 14 disappearances and 29 attempted homicide.

As if the report was not worrisome enough, just the first day of the year 2020, the first FARC former guerrilla was killed. Benjamin Banguera Rosales, 41, died in Guapi, Cauca. While riding a motorcycle, he was intercepted by men who shot him twice. Given this, the political party FARC, which was formed after the signing of the agreement, asked the government of Iván Duque more security for civilians. The man, in addition to having belonged to the extinct guerrilla, was part of the peace commission, as previously stated in accordance with information from Caracol News, and was committed to creating peace in the community.

And the social leaders ...

Following the same line of ex-combatants, 2019 was a difficult year for social leaders and human rights defenders. In December alone, 23 leaders were killed, and only during the Christmas week were two cases known. Like these, the whole year was marked by violence against peace managers in remote communities of the country, which ended with a figure of 250 murdered.

According to António Guterres, UN Secretary General, "the security of social leaders and human rights defenders, as well as of ex-combatants, is intrinsically linked to the security of their communities" and said that "the presence of groups Illegal armed in ethnic territories continues to have devastating consequences, such as recruitment, forced recruitment of minors, homicides, displacements, confinements and attacks and threats against authorities and ethnic leaders”.

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