Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has outlined his deep concern for the political process in Colombia after the FARC had to suspend their political campaigning for the upcoming Congressional and Presidential elections due to attacks on their campaign.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“It is clear that the Colombian Government is failing to protect political and community leaders from deadly attacks from right wing paramilitaries.
“Last year, at least 170 community leaders were killed in Colombia and 21 were killed last month alone. Former combatants from the FARC guerrilla group are also being attacked in greater numbers and 37 have been assassinated since the Peace Agreement was signed in 2016.
“Congressional elections are taking place in March and Presidential elections will take place in May, so political campaigning is well underway. The newly-formed FARC political party, the People’s Alternative Revolutionary Force, is taking part in these elections but they have had to suspend their campaigning because of violent attacks on their public events and threats against their candidates.
“I want to join with many others in expressing my deepest concern with this worrying development and call on the Colombian Government to provide guarantees of security and safety for all election candidates so that they can campaign freely. Rather than a new beginning in Colombia that would allow all political parties to operate freely, there has instead been a sustained campaign to suppress and close down the limited space that the FARC political party had to work and operate.
“If the Colombian peace process is to grow and develop, all political parties, as well as all strands of political opinion, need to be able to partake in the electoral and political process without the constant fear of attack or possible assassination.
“No peace process can grow or develop against a backdrop of systematic killings or in a climate of fear and repression.”