FARC calls for emergency response after three former guerrillas murdered

The FARC political party has called for emergency measures to be implemented after a new spate of murders of former guerillas participating in Colombia’s reincorporation process. Three FARC members were murdered in just five days, taking to 133 the number of former guerrillas killed since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016.

The party also urged the international community to pressure Iván Duque’s government to address the human rights crisis in the country.

Two of the murders occurred in the department of Cauca in southern Colombia. The region is statistically the most violent in the country in terms of murders of community leaders, social activists and former guerrillas. Justice for Colombia visited Cauca in late May to meet communities affected by human rights violations and state violence. The delegation subsequently released a statement presenting its conclusions.

On Thursday 13 June, former guerrilla Rafael Polindara was killed while working outside his house in the zone of El Tambo in Cauca. ‘The man was among the lists of people who accepted the whole Peace Process and was in the process of reincorporation’, said a regional official.

On Monday 17 June – with Colombian president Iván Duque in London to meet with the British government and business leaders – Anderson Pérez Osorio was shot dead in Caloto in Cauca. Anderson was working as a journalist for NC Noticias, a grassroots media platform established to document Colombia’s peace process. He was also a member of various organisations, including the agricultural trade union FENSUAGRO, which has seen at least five members killed already in 2019, the PUPSOC human rights organisation and the ANZORC association for peasant farmers. Anderson, who had previously received threats, was married with a young daughter.

That same day, 61-year-old former guerrilla Daniel Esterilla was killed in Iscuande in the department of Nariño. He was shot dead as he left a meeting with authorities to discuss funding for the reincorporation of FARC members. He had been working on developing sustainable agricultural projects to support former guerrillas.

Following Monday’s killings, the FARC political party called on Iván Duque’s government to urgently address the chronic security crisis affecting former guerrillas. In a statement the party said:

‘These two new crimes against members of our party can be added to the long list of impunity and state failures to comply with the committed word of the Final Agreement. We extend our affection and solidarity to the families, their regional colleagues and to former guerrillas who trusted in the state, put down their weapons and assumed the challenge of building peace in our tormented country.

‘While expressing our indignation at the passivity of the national government regarding the systematic wave of deaths of sons and daughters of the Colombian people, we call on all our compatriots, their political and social organisations and the international community to demand immediate and effective measures from President Duque which are capable of putting a definitive end to this bloodshed’.

President Duque said his government would reinforce security measures and find those responsible for the killings. Although the government has previously pledged to improve security for those at risk, there has been little effective action to tackle the violence.