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Colombia: UN experts condemn attacks on reintegrated former combatants, urge respect for peace process


GENEVA (4 June 2019) – UN human rights experts* have condemned the recent killing and attempted enforced disappearance of a former FARC guerrilla in Colombia and urged the government to honour security guarantees given in a 2016 Peace Process.

In what is widely considered an extrajudicial execution, Dimar Torres Arévalo – a demobilised member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP) – was found dead on April 22 outside a National Army camp in North Santander, bordering Venezuela.

“This attack is a risk to the peace process as it does not respect the Final Agreement that calls for respecting the lives of all ex-combatants who laid down their arms. It is therefore a violation of the guarantees made by Colombia,” the independent experts said.

According to allegations received, members of Torres Arévalo’s community said that when asked, soldiers of the Ground Operations Battalion No.11 of the II Division denied knowing his whereabouts. Subsequently, three shovels and a freshly dug grave, allegedly intended to hide his body, were found near the scene.

Torres Arévalo had been included in the formal process of reintegration as part of the implementation of the Final Agreement for the End of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace – known as the “Colombian Peace Process”.

The experts called on the national authorities to protect the rights and freedoms of reintegrated former combatants of FARC-EP and their families as they transition to civilian life. They also urged fair and impartial investigation and prosecution for killings and acts of aggression, intimidation, harassment or retaliation by security forces as well as armed groups.

“We urge the Colombian authorities to investigate this alleged extrajudicial execution and all similar killings in accordance with international standards, which demand independence and impartiality,” the independent experts said. “It is important for the protection of these individuals and their families that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Ignoring guarantees pledged to former rebel fighters increases the prospect of them deserting the peace and reintegration process and the possibility of them joining dissident groups or taking up arms again to protect themselves.

“We urge the Colombian government to cease inciting violence against demobilised individuals of the FARC-EP and to meet the guarantees that were made to them during the negotiations in Havana, most importantly respect of the right to life,” the experts said. “The apparent disregard of these guarantees across the country is detrimental to peace, development and stability. The Government must take immediate steps to implement the peace accords.”

The experts have contacted Colombian authorities.


(*) Ms Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Chair), Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Vice Chair), Ms Houria Es-Slami, Mr. Luciano Hazan and Mr. Henrikas Mickevičius (members) of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

The Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Colombia

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Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383) 
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