Colombia: President elect must strengthen state’s commitment to human rights

The new government of president elect Iván Duque, who is due to take up office on 7 August, has an obligation to guarantee the rights of the more than eight million victims of the armed conflict in Colombia and to adopt an agenda of full respect for human rights, including for human rights defenders and historically excluded communities, stated Amnesty International today.
“Violence continues to be a reality for thousands of people and communities. We are worried that armed actors, such as paramilitary groups, are still committing crimes under international law, including collective forced displacement, sexual violence against women and girls, and targeted killings of human rights activists. This has to change and we hope that the new administration under president elect Iván Duque will be committed to that change”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The incoming government must tackle the huge challenge of ensuring that the painful history of armed conflict and violence in Colombia is not perpetuated, and must provide a comprehensive response for historically excluded communities that require measures beyond military interventions in their territories. Under president elect Iván Duque, the Colombian state must strengthen its commitment to guarantee human rights in every corner of the national territory, without conditions.”
For more than 40 years, Amnesty International has been supporting victims of human rights violations in Colombia, their organizations, social movements and communities that have historically been subjected to violence in the country. In departments such as Nariño, Cauca and Chocó, the armed conflict continues to be a daily reality for thousands of people and communities. In other parts of the country, human rights activists and their communities are exposed to serious human rights violations, particularly when they defend rights relating to land, territory and natural resources.
The organization calls on the Colombian authorities to immediately dismantle any paramilitary structures that still exist despite their supposed demobilization in 2005 and promote criminal investigations into the alleged complicity of state officials with such structures. Amnesty International has also reported that the reorganization of other guerrilla groups, in territorial disputes, continues to generate situations of violence with communities still facing conditions of armed conflict.
“The rights of victims of the armed conflict to truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition must be the main pillar of the new administration’s policies to eliminate the structural causes of violence. Impunity for crimes under international law and serious human rights violations must end once and for all”, said Guevara-Rosas.
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