The United Nations said Colombia’s government was undermining the country’s peace process by failing to release imprisoned FARC members and protect disarmed guerrillas as promised in a peace deal with the country’s oldest and largest rebel group.
In an unusually harsh press release, the UN Mission in Colombia, which oversees the peace process, said the government should “act responsibly and swiftly to put an end to a situation that weakens peace building.”
The detention of members of the FARC-EP in prisons six months after the congressional approval of the Amnesty Law and two weeks after the disarmament of individuals undermines the reintegration process and the consolidation of peace.
More than 1,400 imprisoned FARC members have gone on hunger strike, demanding the government release them as promised in the peace deal signed on November 24 last year and ratified by Congress in an amnesty law shortly after.
According to newspaper El Espectador, only 837 former guerrillas have been released from prison while 3,400 are still behind bars even after the 180-day period that sought the FARC’s disarmament on one hand and the government facilitating the former guerrillas’ reintegration into society on the other.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for bartering peace, on several occasions has been embarrassed internationally for its almost systematic failures to comply with the peace deal.
Moreover, the Colombian state has failed to assume territorial control over abandoned FARC territory, effectively causing a power vacuum blamed for the assassination of more than 50 social leaders, six demobilized FARC rebels and nine family members of former guerrillas.
According to the UN, “the insecurity of FARC members in the demobilization zones, illustrated by the cases of threats and assassination against them and their family members” further weakens the prospects of peace in Colombia.