The United Nations Human Rights Office on Wednesday called on Colombia to resist granting amnesty to rebels of the FARC, the country’s largest rebel groups and currently engaged in peace talks.
Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the U.N., made the request as part of the annual report on Colombia, presented before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.
The report declares that “as opposed to avoiding addressing past violations through amnesties and other forms of impunity, which simply violate human rights obligations, the past should be used to positively transform Colombia” whilst reiterating the U.N.’s stance on violations; namely upholding accountability, reparations, justice, punishment and the completion of sentences for human rights violators.
A delegation from Colombia said that the peace talks are being carried out “with the objective of definitively ending the conflict” between the government and left wing rebel group FARC, adding that 53,319 paramilitary and guerrilla fighters have been demobilized and that over 150 thousand victims received compensation in 2012 under a law designed to provide compensation for victims of Colombia’s nearly 50-year-old armed conflict.
Pillay also noted the “serious human rights issues” that are yet to be resolved in Colombia, making explicit reference to 4,716 homicides of civilians reportedly committed by state agents, specifying that as yet only 294 cases have been brought before the justice system.
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The current peace talks started in November 2012, and the current round of discussions, focussing on the issue of land reform, is expected to come to an end this week. The issue of the reintegration of FARC’s guerrillas into society has yet to be raised in these talks, although it is believed the majority of FARC’s forces, recently estimated to number 7,800, are expecting to be reintegrated into mainstream society if peace talks prove successful.