BOGOTA, Colombia – Since Colombia signed a peace agreement with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) two years ago, 85 members of the former guerrilla movement were murdered, the United Nations said on Monday.
Between September 26 and December 26 of this year, “14 former FARC members were murdered,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his quarterly report on the mission of the global body to Colombia.
According to the Colombian special investigation unit, cited by the UN, those responsible for the murders “are illegal armed groups and criminal organizations”.
Most of these cases have been linked to the Gulf Clan drug trafficking group, which emerged from unarmed right-wing paramilitaries in 2006, as well as dissidents from the FARC, the guerrilla group of the National Liberation Army (ELN), and remnants of the now-defunct Marxist rebels of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Guterres ‘extremely worried’
The UN summoned Colombian President Iván Duque, a critic of the peace agreement signed by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, to “reinforce the security plans and strategies for ex-combatants.”
In the report, Guterres said he was “hugely” concerned about the number of murders of social leaders and human rights defenders, saying that the UN has verified 163 of the 454 cases since the peace agreement was signed.
“Most of the murders were in zones abandoned by former FARC (fighters) and where there is limited state presence,” the UN report said.
Colombia’s human rights ombudsman estimates that 423 activists were murdered between 2016 and the end of November.
Transformed into a political party since the peace agreement, the FARC has repeatedly criticized the lack of security guarantees for its members.
While some 7,000 former combatants have laid down their weapons, Colombia’s peace and reconciliation commission estimates that there are 1,600 dissident rebels.
Colombia has been torn apart by more than half a century of armed conflict involving guerrillas, drug traffickers, paramilitaries and state forces, leaving 8 million people dead, missing or displaced.