Colombia

Colombia: Human Rights and the Peace Agreement - Amnesty International submission for the UN Universal Periodic Review, 30th session of the UPR Working Group, May 2018

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INTRODUCTION

Amnesty International submitted this document for the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Colombia in May 2018. The document includes an analysis of the implementation of recommendations made to Colombia during its previous review in 2013.
Amnesty International also reports on the situation of human rights defenders, violence against women and girls, violations of the rights of persons with disabilities and the rights of victims of the armed conflict.

Negotiations between the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government formally started in October 2012 with the aim of ending more than 50 years of internal armed conflict. The first version of the Peace Agreement was signed by the parties on 26 September 2016 and submitted to a referendum on 2 October 2016. The Agreement was rejected in the referendum which cast doubts over the continuation of the peace talks and raised issues around how to balance the need to reach a peace agreement with Colombia’s international obligations with regard to justice and the rights of victims.

A new version of the Peace Agreement was signed on 24 November 2016 and in a subsequent vote in Congress on 1 December 2016 it was approved by a majority vote.1 The Constitutional Court stated that it would use a “fast track” process2 to prioritise the constitutional analysis of the legislative initiatives to implement the Peace Agreement. The implementation has begun with the aim of achieving the disarmament of the FARC and gathering its members into designated areas across the country, monitored by the UN Peace Mission.

Amnesty International has stated on a number of occasions that the effective implementation of the Peace Agreement in territories historically affected by violence could contribute to the nonrepetition of such crimes.

In some departments, including Chocó, Cauca, Antioquia and Norte de Santander, crimes under international law and human rights violations persist, including the murder of members of AfroColombian communities and Indigenous Peoples, collective forced displacements, confinement of communities in certain areas of the country, forced recruitment of children to serve in the armed groups, sexual violence, and the use of anti-personnel mines. Since the Peace Agreement was signed, the armed conflict has intensified in some areas due to confrontations between the guerrilla forces of the National Liberation Army (ELN), paramilitary groups and state security forces, all attempting to fill the power vacuum left by the FARC.

A bilateral ceasefire was agreed on 4 September 2017 between the ELN and the government of Colombia as part of the Quito negotiations. The ceasefire started on 1 October 2017 and will run until the beginning of 2018 when the government and the ELN will begin to discuss a possible peace agreement.