By Laia Mataix Gómez |
Bogotá (EFE).- The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, Juliette De Rivero, assured that the situation of violence in the country “is getting worse”, but qualified that there is “a lot of hope” in relation to the “openness of the Government” to receive and adopt the recommendations that mitigate this reality.
This was stated by De Rivero in an interview with EFE after the presentation of the annual report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, one of the most complete on the state of violence in Colombia, in which he highlighted an increase in massacres -92- and murders of human rights defenders -116-.
This report “denotes the situation in the territory, the seriousness of the human rights violations that are experienced in the territories of Colombia, such as the murder of defenders, and the Government has been open to accepting this diagnosis,” said De Rivero, who considered that it is “a slightly different context politically, open to human rights issues.”
In this sense, the Office is working “with the Ministry of Defense, for example, on the reforms they want to make to incorporate human rights into military doctrine and practice, and also with the National Police.”
Violence, getting worse in Colombia
The report’s diagnosis is not good: in the 92 massacres verified so far, 321 people were killed and the figures for forced displacement and confinement also increased. In addition, there was a “significant increase” in homicides against members of Community Action Boards.
The reality in the territories “tells us that the situation is getting worse and this is due to the fact that at the moment in which the territory could have been occupied by the State, it was not done on time”, which is why the Office insists “a lot ” in the need for “the State to arrive with all its institutions in these territories that have been historically abandoned and where the armed groups have been able to settle”.
“The State has to give answers in terms of development in terms of legality”, for which “the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the new opportunities generated by total peace” are essential.
The report also emphasizes two acts of violence: sexual and gender violence, and the recruitment of minors, two phenomena that “are largely invisible because they are not easily accessible data, because people have a lot of afraid to speak”, but they are “the great concerns of the communities”.
“The armed groups exercise a lot of violence against the youth, against children and against women, the war is played in the body of women”, for which the UN considers it “very important to address these situations in the territory”.
In 2022, there were 115 known cases of children and adolescents recruited by non-state armed groups. Of these, 20 were reportedly murdered (11 girls and 9 boys) and 12 girls suffered sexual violence, while there is knowledge of the involvement of armed groups in the transfer of women to territories for possible purposes of sexual exploitation.
In this sense, De Rivero points out that “what Colombia has to solve are profound human rights problems and the presence of very violent armed groups against the civilian population,” and that “is going to take time.”
“We cannot forecast a specific time, but what is important is that there is a commitment to really reach the communities, to combat the structural racism that has existed in the past and to address the economic and social rights of these populations,” added the representative. in reference to the total peace policy promoted by the Government of Gustavo Petro.
De Rivero urged him to adopt two of the recommendations contained in the report. One of them is the reform of the National Protection Unit: “we believe that the director is addressing the situation of corruption that he has found within the institution, but it must be strengthened so that it provides real protection to human rights defenders.” .
Another of the recommendations and “the most important” is that the policy of dismantling criminal groups and criminal organizations be adopted so that the problem of violence in the territories can begin to be addressed.