Colombia’s armed conflict is “alive as ever” in “large parts” of the South American country, Amnesty International (AI) said Monday, three months after the government signed peace with the country’s largest rebel group.
“An unabated wave of threats, killings and forced displacement of hundreds of peaceful villagers in north-western Colombia is a frightening illustration that the armed conflict is far from over,” AI said in a press release.
The international human rights NGO’s statement came just days after a report by Colombian think tank Fundacion Ideas por la Paz that said the peace deal signed with Marxist FARC rebels on November 24 failed to bring peace to the country, but a “new phase of armed conflict.”
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos has come under tremendous international pressure after failing to comply with almost all made commitments in the peace deal.
Mainly the military’s failure to enter territories abandoned by the FARC as agreed has created a major power vacuum, territorial expansion operations by paramilitary groups or plain lawlessness.
Consequently and “alarmingly, in large parts of Colombia, the armed conflict is as alive as ever. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have yet to see any difference in their lives since the peace accords were signed,” said IA Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas.
The human rights group, for the second time this month, rejected the government’s claim that paramilitary groups who are blamed for most the violence and threats do not exist.
“It is high time for Colombian authorities to face reality by recognizing that the conflict is still wreaking havoc for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people. The longer action is delayed, the more lives will be lost,” said Guevara-Rosas.
The government’s lack of will or inability to carry out its basic duties has long been cited as one of the principal causes of Colombia’s armed conflict that officially began in 1964, but has historical roots that date back before the republic.
The drug-fueled conflict has cost the lives of more than 265,000 Colombians, which could be much higher as 60,000 are missing and presumed assassinated. Another 7 million were displaced.