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OIDHACO welcomes temporary bilateral ceasefire between Colombian government and ELN


Press release about the ongoing peace talks between both parts.


 

 

OIDHACO welcomes temporary bilateral ceasefire between Colombian government and ELN

 

                                                                                                                            Brussels, 2 October 2017 

 

On 4 September 2017, the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN) reached an agreement for a temporary bilateral ceasefire, which will run from 1 October 2017 to 12 January 2018. The International Office on Human Rights Action Colombia (OIDHACO) would like to welcome the agreement for the ceasefire which began yesterday and which represents a step forward in the peace negotiations between the two parties. OIDHACO regrets the recent attack against the Caño Limón – Coveñas pipeline which produced serious environmental repercussions and impacts on the civilian population and hopes this agreement will help to avoid future incidents such as this one.

 

Under the agreement, according to the Office of the Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, the government has committed to improving the early warning system to prevent attacks against social leaders as well as investigations into such cases. It must also launch a humanitarian program for the Colombian prison population and ensure compliance with the law that decriminalises social protest.

For its part, the ELN has agreed to cease its practice of hostage-taking, sabotage of infrastructure and recruitment of minors into its ranks. It will also stop planting explosive devices that could affect the civilian population.

 

OIDHACO would like to highlight the importance of measures permitting social protest and protecting social leaders, including human rights defenders. These defenders continue to face attacks and killings despite the favourable context for peace: according to Colombian NGO the We are Defenders Program (Programa Somos Defensores), between January and June 2017, there were 335 individual attacks against defenders, including 51 murders. In the same period last year, the NGO reports 314 individual attacks, including 35 murders. Guarantees for the work of human rights defenders and social leaders and for the right to peaceful social protest, are fundamental elements in the construction of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.


The framework created by this ceasefire will allow for the continuation of the talks between the Colombian government and the ELN with greater guarantees and in better conditions and will be used to initiate a process of participatory consultation with Colombian citizens, in which the negotiating table can hear their viewpoints and demands.

 

OIDHACO would like to congratulate both parties for the agreement they have reached, and encourages them to continue making steps forward towards the de-escalation of the armed conflict. This will facilitate agreements on the agenda points being negotiated in Quito by delegations representing both parties, thereby enabling further progress towards lasting peace in Colombia.

 

 

For further information, contact Miguel Choza Fernández on +32 (0)2 536 1913 or at

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