Pais Libre, a Colombian foundation for the victims of kidnappings, Monday expressed its doubts over the FARC’s latest declaration that they will put an end to abductions for extortion.
The FARC statement discussed the release of 10 police and military hostages but no mention was made of liberating the reported 405 civilians kidnapped from 2002 to the present, which has led the families of the hostages to express fears over their fate.
Olga Lucia Gomez, Director of Pais Libre, told Colombia Reports that she is wary of making any predictions about further releases.
Gomez, said “the statement talks about how they will abandon economic kidnapping…Which is dubious… When they said that they will not kidnap civilians, [it means that] they could still continue to kidnap police and military personnel…This announcement has to be backed by practical facts, such as knowing what happened to the kidnapped civilians that died under duress, how many hostages and economic hostages they have in different regions of the country, etc.”
According to Gomez, the measures to be taken against the FARC over the abducted civilians will be part of a collaborative process and a campaign of consensus building.
“We are very willing to talk to other political actors and build a mechanism for monitoring and observing what they [the FARC] say is fact. Therefore we must maintain dialogue with the government, Colombians for Peace and other political actors.”
The FARC communique represents a step towards peaceful dialogue between the government and illegal armed groups but Gomez does not have a rose-tinted view of the situation. “The other point is that though the FARC say that they are going to release 10 soldiers and members of the police, they will not escape responsibility for all the breaches of human rights and humanitarian law that they have committed over the last 40 years. I believe that Colombian society must not forget [what happened].”