The International Office for Human Rights in Colombia (OIDHACO) broadly criticized ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC, and asked the European Union to play a “key role” in protecting the guerrillas’ victims’ interests.
Vincent Valles, spokesman for OIDHACO, criticized the peace talks between Colombia and the FARC for not allowing victims “direct participation” in the negotiations, and voiced his concern that negotiations will end in impunity for FARC members guilty of murder, displacement, and kidnapping.
“The victims’ right to truth must not be overshadowed by impunity in Colombia … Impunity is a tool used in the war. Because of this, widespread impunity is not compatible with a peace agreement.”
The request comes on the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Violations of Human Rights and Dignity of Victims, established by the United Nations (UN).
“We also expect the EU to publicly support the initiatives of civil society in the search for the truth,” the spokesman added.
According to data provided by the government, over 220,000 people have died due to the 50-year-long conflict while 25,000 have disappeared. The conflict has also caused the displacement of 5.7 million people and “numerous cases of sexual violence.”
There has also been has been growing opposition to the peace talks within Colombia due to recent incidences of violence, including the recent kidnapping and murder of two police officers, and the kidnapping of five oil workers.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and leaders of the FARC have been negotiating in Cuba since late 2012 to seek a political solution to the violent conflict. The two negotiating teams are currently debating the rebels’ role in drug trafficking and, in the event of agreement on drugs, will discuss victim compensation.
- Piden a Unión Europea proteger a víctimas en proceso de paz (El Espectador)
- Piden a la UE que proteja a las víctimas en diálogo entre Colombia y las FARC (Señal Radio Colombia)
- Press release – International Day for the right to Truth concerning Gross Violations of Human Rights and for the Dignity of Victims (OIDHACO)