PRESS RELEASE - COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

AL PIÉ EN CASTELLANO:Una nueva tragedia se gesta en Bojayá y el Bajo Atrato

Colombia: New tragedy looming in Bojayá and Bajo Atrato

The territorial control strategy advanced by the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) in territories previously controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias Armadas de Colombia, FARC) in Chocó puts these communities at imminent risk of human rights violations once again. State action must be emphatic to ensure that the human rights of people in Chocó be respected, said Amnesty International.

The last early warning issued on 24 January by the Ombudsman’s Office cautioned that, in the municipalities of Bojayá, Medio Atrato (Chocó) and Vigía del Fuerte (Antioquia), the risk of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law persists and has gotten worse due to the “strong likelihood of armed clashes taking place in Afro-Colombian communities belonging to the Greater Community Council of the Comprehensive Farmers’ Association of Atrato (Consejo Comunitario Mayor de la Asociación Campesina Integral del Atrato, COCOMACIA) and on Indigenous reservations in these municipalities.”[1]

The Bojayá massacre 16 years ago marked the beginning of a violent history in Colombia. Thousands of people were victims of clashes between the FARC and paramilitary groups, while the state took no measures to avoid this. Bojayá is an emblematic case of the state’s inability to protect communities living in armed conflict zones. At that time, the Ombudsman’s Office also issued various alerts demonstrating the lack of protection for Afro-descendent and Indigenous communities in the municipality, and the inadequate state response, leaving communities in a vulnerable position.

Currently, despite a Peace Agreement signing with the FARC, the armed conflict has intensified in this area. Statistics on murders and forced displacement, among other forms of violence that have arisen after the Peace Agreement was signed, are evidence of the re-victimization occurring in this area. With today’s announcement that negotiations between the ELN and the government have been suspended, communities fear that the conflict is intensifying in the department, putting their lives and integrity at serious risk.

In a recent report, “The Years of Solitude Continue: The Peace Agreement and Guarantees of Non-Repetition in Chocó,” Amnesty International warned that the environment of exclusion, neglect and invisibility of this territory, created by the Colombian state, reinforces these communities’ vulnerable state without there having been a comprehensive institutional response beyond a merely military response.

Communities living in these areas have reported to Amnesty International that paramilitary structures are colluding with the state, and this has allowed them to realign within the context of implementing a Peace Agreement in the territories.

“The state must take urgent measures so that a massacre similar to what took place in Bojayá in 2002 does not occur again in Colombia. Clashes between the ELN, paramilitary groups and state security forces continue to directly threaten Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities in the country. The organization makes an urgent appeal for immediate protection measures to be taken. The people living in the midst of the armed conflict demand a comprehensive state response. This serious situation cannot be made invisible under the mantle of implementing a Peace Agreement with the FARC,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Sergio Ortiz, +52 1 55 4194 7886, sergio.ortiz@amnesty.org

 

 



[1]Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, EARLY WARNING N° 011-18, http://defensoria.gov.co/attachment/1788/AT%20N%C2%B0%20011-18%20ANT-Vigi%CC%81a%20del%20Fuerte%20y%20CHO-Bojaya%CC%81%20-%20Medio%20Atrato.pdf

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PRESS RELEASE

29 January 2018

Colombia: New tragedy looming in Bojayá and Bajo Atrato

The territorial control strategy advanced by the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) in territories previously controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias Armadas de Colombia, FARC) in Chocó puts these communities at imminent risk of human rights violations once again. State action must be emphatic to ensure that the human rights of people in Chocó be respected, said Amnesty International.

The last early warning issued on 24 January by the Ombudsman’s Office cautioned that, in the municipalities of Bojayá, Medio Atrato (Chocó) and Vigía del Fuerte (Antioquia), the risk of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law persists and has gotten worse due to the “strong likelihood of armed clashes taking place in Afro-Colombian communities belonging to the Greater Community Council of the Comprehensive Farmers’ Association of Atrato (Consejo Comunitario Mayor de la Asociación Campesina Integral del Atrato, COCOMACIA) and on Indigenous reservations in these municipalities.”[1]

The Bojayá massacre 16 years ago marked the beginning of a violent history in Colombia. Thousands of people were victims of clashes between the FARC and paramilitary groups, while the state took no measures to avoid this. Bojayá is an emblematic case of the state’s inability to protect communities living in armed conflict zones. At that time, the Ombudsman’s Office also issued various alerts demonstrating the lack of protection for Afro-descendent and Indigenous communities in the municipality, and the inadequate state response, leaving communities in a vulnerable position.

Currently, despite a Peace Agreement signing with the FARC, the armed conflict has intensified in this area. Statistics on murders and forced displacement, among other forms of violence that have arisen after the Peace Agreement was signed, are evidence of the re-victimization occurring in this area. With today’s announcement that negotiations between the ELN and the government have been suspended, communities fear that the conflict is intensifying in the department, putting their lives and integrity at serious risk.

In a recent report, “The Years of Solitude Continue: The Peace Agreement and Guarantees of Non-Repetition in Chocó,” Amnesty International warned that the environment of exclusion, neglect and invisibility of this territory, created by the Colombian state, reinforces these communities’ vulnerable state without there having been a comprehensive institutional response beyond a merely military response.

Communities living in these areas have reported to Amnesty International that paramilitary structures are colluding with the state, and this has allowed them to realign within the context of implementing a Peace Agreement in the territories.

“The state must take urgent measures so that a massacre similar to what took place in Bojayá in 2002 does not occur again in Colombia. Clashes between the ELN, paramilitary groups and state security forces continue to directly threaten Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities in the country. The organization makes an urgent appeal for immediate protection measures to be taken. The people living in the midst of the armed conflict demand a comprehensive state response. This serious situation cannot be made invisible under the mantle of implementing a Peace Agreement with the FARC,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Sergio Ortiz, +52 1 55 4194 7886, sergio.ortiz@amnesty.org

 

 



 

Colombia: Una nueva tragedia se gesta en Bojayá y el Bajo Atrato
29 enero 2018, 14:55 UTC

La última alerta temprana emitida el 24 de enero por la Defensoría del Pueblo advierte que en los municipios de Bojayá, Medio Atrato (Chocó) y Vigía del Fuerte (Antioquia) persiste y se agudiza el riesgo de violaciones a los derechos humanos e infracciones al derecho internacional humanitario debido a  la “alta probabilidad de confrontación armada en territorio de las comunidades afrocolombianas pertenecientes al Consejo Comunitario Mayor de la Asociación Campesina Integral del Atrato –COCOMACIA y los resguardos indígenas de estos municipios”.

Hace 16 años la masacre de Bojayá marcó la historia violenta de Colombia cuando miles de personas fueron víctimas de un enfrentamiento entre las FARC y grupos paramilitares, sin que el Estado haya tomado medidas para evitarlo.  Bojayá representa un caso emblemático de la falta de protección del Estado que comunidades que habitan en zonas de conflicto armado. En su momento, la Defensoría también emitió diversas alertas evidenciando la desprotección de comunidades afrodescendientes e indígenas del municipio, sin que el Estado tuviera una respuesta adecuada lo que dejó en estado de vulnerabilidad a las comunidades.

Actualmente, a pesar de la firma del Acuerdo de Paz con las FARC, el conflicto armado ha recrudecido en esta zona. Las cifras de asesinatos, y desplazamientos forzados, entre otras violencias surgidas tras la firma del Acuerdo de Paz son evidencia de la re-victimización que vive esta zona. Con el anuncio de suspensión de la negociación entre el ELN y el gobierno anunciado hoy, las comunidades temen que el conflicto se intensifique en el departamento, poniendo en grave riesgo su vida e integridad.

Amnistía Internacional, en su reciente informe “Continúan los años de soledad: Acuerdo de paz y garantías de no repetición en El Chocó”, advirtió que el contexto de exclusión, olvido e invisibilidad de este territorio por parte del Estado Colombiano refuerza las condiciones de vulnerabilidad de estas comunidades, sin que medie una respuesta institucional integral, más allá de lo meramente militar. 

Comunidades que habitan estas zonas han denunciado a Amnistía Internacional que estructuras paramilitares actúan en connivencia con el Estado, y esto ha permitido su reacomodación en la coyuntura de implementación territorial del Acuerdo de Paz.

“El Estado debe tomar medidas urgentes para que una masacre como la ocurrida en Bojayá en 2002 no se vuelva a repetir en Colombia. Las confrontaciones entre el ELN, grupos paramilitares y fuerzas de seguridad del Estado continúan amenazando directamente a pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes del país. La organización hace un llamado urgente para que se tomen medidas inmediatas de protección. Las poblaciones que viven en medio del conflicto armado exigen una respuesta integral del Estado. Esta grave situación no se puede invisibilizar bajo el manto de la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz con las FARC”, dijo Erika Guevara Rosas. Directora para las Américas de Amnistía Internacional.