In 2020, 76 massacres were documented in Colombia, in which 292 people, including 6 girls and 18 children, were killed on Tuesday (23,02,2021) by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its annual report.
Victims include 23 women, 6 girls, 18 children, 7 indigenous people and 10 Afro-descendants. In addition, the office, run globally by former President Michelle Bachelet, is still checking five other possible massacres.
«Since 2018, the number of massacres (has) steadily increased, with 2020 being the year with the highest number recorded since 2014,» OHCHR representative Juliette de Rivero said in Colombia at a virtual press conference.
This increase in violence particularly affected rural territories and communities, Rivero said. In addition, his office documented 248 killings of former FARC combatants since the signing of the 2016 peace agreement, as well as 795 threats against social leaders and human rights defenders, who remain vulnerable and helpless, the UN representative said.
«Attacks» on court investigating crimes of armed conflict
De Rivero was also concerned about attacks by official forces on the peace court investigating the most heinous crimes in the conflict.
«The claims of actors seeking to discredit the impartiality and independence of these institutions are of concern (…) putting them at risk,» he said in presenting the report he will take to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
In particular, the representative criticized an initiative of the right-wing Democratic Center party to abolish the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP), arising from the agreements that led to the disarmament of the FARC guerrillas in 2016: «It poses a serious threat to the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparation,» de Rivero emphasized.
To date, the court has not issued any convictions, but has indicted eight former guerrillas for more than 21,000 kidnappings and recently revealed the chilling 6,400 civilians executed by the military under the mandate of former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), founder and natural leader of the ruling party.
The victims were presented as falling into combat to inflate the results in the fight against leftist rebels. Uribe denied that he had instigated the troops to «break the law» when he demanded «efficiency» from them and called the JEP report a «hit-and-run.»
The court, which does not have the authority to try former presidents or military personnel who do not submit voluntarily, may impose alternative sentences on the prison for those who confess their crimes and repair their victims or punish those who fail to comply with those who fail to comply with those commitments.
Although the historic PACT pact with the FARC reduced political violence, Colombia is still in a nearly six-decade conflict that leaves more than nine million victims, among the dead, missing and displaced. FarC dissents, ELN guerrillas and far-right paramilitary heir gangs are currently contesting the incomes of drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining.