94 US Congress members say Colombian government failures fuelling human rights abuses

The Colombian government’s failures over implementation of the 2016 peace agreement are worsening the human rights situtation in the country, according to a letter signed by 94 US Congress members. In the letter, which is addressed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Congress members urge the US government to pressure its Colombian counterpart to fully implement the peace deal.

The letter, dated 6 July, raises concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated weak security across unstable regions of Colombia. Citing the murders of at least 400 social activists since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016, the letter holds the Duque administration to account over the violence. ‘The Colombian government’s slowness in implementing the peace accords, its failure to bring the civilian state into the conflict zones, and its ongoing inability to prevent and prosecute attacks against defenders have allowed this tragedy to go unchecked,’ it says.

Among a series of recommendations, the Congress members call on the Colombian government to ensure full investigations into the murders of social activists, with focus on identifying the intellectual authors as well as those who physically commit the crimes. Authorities should also liaise over security mechanisms with indigenous and African-Colombian communities which are particularly impacted by human rights abuses.

Furthermore, military intelligence officials behind illegal spying on opposition politicians, trade unionists and human rights defenders must be held to account, while the US must ensure that its military support to Colombia is never used in such activities. The letter makes a number of further recommendations.

To download or read the full letter, click the link below.