Annual Report 2018 – Information System on attacks against Human Rights Defenders in Colombia
Unfortunately, as usual in recent years, we must begin this report by highlighting the critical situation of violence against human rights defenders in the country. 2018 was, without a doubt, the worst year for defenders, this is shown by the data, since we recorded the highest aggression figures that have been presented since the beginning of our Information System in 2009. That is, not counting the amount of cases that for different reasons are not included, since we start from accepting the existence of underreporting, which means that the level of violence is much higher than we can imagine.Although the Peace Agreement with the FARC guerrillas and the Government’s dialogues with the ELN posed a historic opportunity for the construction of peace in the country, the political context has given some highly feared turns, which have made the situation of violence even more complex and that have sought to corner social organizations and their leaders in different territories. The flaws in the implementation of the agreements, the abrupt end of the dialogues and the absence of com-prehensive measures that intervene in the circles of violence, among other issues, have triggered an escalation of the armed conflict in which many more armed groups have appeared on the scene with different interests, but with a common need, that of adhering territories to their power, and with them, their populations. Faced with these facts, it is impossible not to feel what is expressed in many sectors, that we have gone back in time in terms of security and that the peace process was only a short oasis from which we left abruptly, especially when the change in government took place.Despite the evident crisis of human rights and the urgent need for intervention to protect the lives of everyone, and in particular, human rights defenders, the current Government of Iván Duque has opted to take opposing positions to its duty to offer guarantees and has left aside the difficult situation that defenders are going through; dedicating his efforts, instead, to putting other issues at the center, such as the orange economy.
Hence, this report is called A Clock-work Orange, because the Government has shown to us in these months that the orange is priority, because it even crosses the entire National Development Plan, but instead has shown that this marked interest in the economy and its placing in public opinion is a way of omitting and disappearing much more impor-tant current issues, such as peace. Therefore, the orange appears in the center, but behind it speeches arise, such as the denial of the existence of the armed conflict, the ignorance of the systematic nature of violence against defenders, the non-recognition of the existence of many more armed groups and that these are not only linked to drug trafficking, the insistence of the District Attorney’s Office that it has increased the solution for cases of murders of defenders when it is not true and everything is a rhetorical and mediatic game, the non-implementation of the measures agreed upon with the previous Government and within the framework of the Peace Agreement to generate guarantees of security in the territories, among many other aspects that seem to indicate that Iván Duque is ruling in front of the economy and showing his back to peace.
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