The Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia of the Organization of American States (MAPP/OAS) today presented to the Permanent Council its 27th semi-annual report, in which it reiterated its concern over the continued severe effects on the population of the presence and acts of illegal armed groups fighting for control of territory and illicit sources of income, such as drug trafficking.
The result of more than 1,600 missions in 860 municipalities in the country, the MAPP/OAS report noted that during the first semester of 2019, communities in Bajo Cauca, Catatumbo, the Nariño coast, and Chocó were victims of confinement and forced displacement. It also warned that social, communal, peasant, ethnic and human rights leaders were threatened, attacked and killed in the departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Bolívar, Caquetá, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Norte de Santander.
The MAPP/OAS condemned and drew special attention to the strong violence and violation of rights faced by indigenous peoples. Two heinous massacres perpetrated in Cauca at the end of October 2019, over a period of two days, as well as the recurrent murders of community members, guards and other indigenous authorities highlight the serious effects on ethnic and rural communities, in contexts of conflict, criminality and inequality fueled by drug trafficking.
As a result of its permanent monitoring in 205 municipalities, the MAPP/OAS also identified the increase in political violence against candidates for elected positions, and identified the effects that, for reasons of gender, faced women candidates. The Mission also noted the continuity of forced recruitment of children and adolescents, mainly in Afro and indigenous communities.
“We insist on the need to move forward with effective actions that take into account the particularities and specific risks, that advance in the engagement of the affected populations in existing mechanisms, and that are coordinated with national, regional and local authorities,” said Roberto Menéndez, Chief of MAPP/OAS.
Finally, the Mission welcomed the actions carried out by the Government of Colombia to advance in the consolidation of peace, understanding the complexity and scope that this desired purpose implies.
Among them, it highlighted the promotion of the implementation of the Development Plans with a Territorial Focus (PDET) and the definition of five Strategic Areas of Integral Intervention, also known as Future Zones. There the national government seeks to guarantee a coordinated and sustained action by the State to mitigate violent actions and promote the integrity of communities, local development, environmental protection and institutional control of the territory. The MAPP/OAS will accompany and closely monitor this initiative, and will continue to warn of the challenges in these and other areas that also require effective State action.
The full report and previous reports are available here.