UN: there is less violence in Colombia since the peace process began


An article from Deutsche Welle

The number of casualties and the humanitarian impact of the armed conflict has decreased since peace talks between the government and the FARC began, according to a report of the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

graph from OCHA report

The armed conflict from which Colombia has suffered for more than half a century has declined since 2012, when the government and the FARC guerrillas in Cuba began the peace process, according to the study which was presented in Bogotá.

Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Colombia, Fabrizio Hochschild said that since the negotiations began there has been a decline of up to 48 percent of the number of victims of the conflict.

Hochschild said that from November 2012 to June 2015 the percent of people forced by the conflict decreased by 27% compared to the 32 months prior to the peace process.

Fewer acts of war

The OCHA study, entitled “Humanitarian and Peace Trends from November 2012-June 2015” also indicates that, overall, there was a decrease during this period in the number of military actions of the guerrilla group, attacks on civilians, victims of landmines and kidnappings.

According to Hochschild, the figures decreased largely as a result of the six ceasefire declarations that have made by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during the peace process, which have helped to reduce by 60% and 52% respectively the figures for guerrilla attacks and displaced persons.

The FARC has upheld since last July 20 a ceasefire, which was answered by President Juan Manuel Santos by an order to the Air Force to suspend the bombing of guerrilla camps as part of an agreement to start a phase of de-escalation of the conflict.

Hope and concern

The delegate of the UN cataloged the current scenario as “encouraging” and highlighted the progress of the peace process, but said the OCHA study continues to show worrying data for violence in Colombia.

Hochschild said the state must take measures to prevent other armed groups from beginning to act in places where the FARC guerrilla group makes peace with the government and demobilizes.

He also said that so far this year 69 human rights defenders and political leaders have been killed, which he described as “alarming”, because in the same period in 2014 the figure was 35.

“That’s a major setback which is very unfortunate in terms of social protection and community leaders,” he said.

(Click here for the original Spanish version.)

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