June 14, 2021

Victims of the Colombian conflict cry out for cessation of violence in the face of a pandemic

Victims of the armed conflict cried out this Thursday for the cessation of violence in convulsive Colombian regions such as the departments of Chocó and Cauca, in the Pacific, where they fear that an eventual arrival of COVID-19 cases will worsen the situation of anxiety that they are living for the armed confrontations.

On the National Day of Memory and Solidarity with the Victims of the Armed Conflict, the social leader Leyner Palacios expressed his concern that in Bojayá, municipality of Chocó, the population “cannot stay at home” during the quarantine decreed between 25 March and April 27, because “it’s your turn to run away from the lead.”

Palacios, winner in 2017 of the Global Pluralism Prize for claiming the rights and struggle of the victims of the conflict, assured that in many towns in Chocó they also have to face “the pandemic” of not having “aqueducts, medicines, a medicine to attend to us” .

“We have a (high) number of elderly and we do not know the level of impact that it may have (COVID-19), what we are left with is basically sticking to the saint so that this pandemic does not reach our Pacific peoples,” said Palacios , who participated in a virtual session of Congress in which senators and representatives to the chamber listened to victims of the conflict.

On April 5, indigenous emberas from the Pichicora reservation, which is part of the municipality of Bojayá, denounced that they are confined by confrontations between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and paramilitaries of the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC).


Human rights defender Francia Márquez, who lives in Cauca and was awarded the Joan Alsina Prize for Human Rights in Barcelona last year, assured that the armed conflict is still alive in her region and that makes it more difficult, as in the in the case of Chocó, maintain quarantine.

“There are those who, sadly, today ‘stay home’ is not an option. It is not an option for many families, many communities, due to the recurrence of the armed conflict and violence,” said Márquez, who in April 2018 was awarded the Goldman Prize (equivalent to the Nobel Prize for the Environment).

Márquez also stated in the session of Congress that there are many communities that do not have “the infrastructure to attend to this situation, if we have seen what happens in the cities we cannot imagine what may happen when it reaches our territories.”

In Colombia there are 2,054 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 54 died and 123 recovered. In Cauca there are 14 infected.

Last weekend, there was a bloody attack in La Consolata, a village in the town of Piedmont, in Cauca, where unknown persons broke into the home of a peasant family and the father of the family, identified only as Hamilton, was killed and his three young children, while his wife, María José Arroyo, is missing.


In commemoration of the National Day of Memory and Solidarity with the Victims of the Armed Conflict, the peace agreement signed in 2016 by the Government and the FARC was present.

The head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, said that for “the success of the peace agreement it is essential that those who suffered decades of violence can enjoy the benefits of peace.”

“It is a priority to ensure that communities and victims are at the center of all peacebuilding efforts,” Ruiz said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, FARC party senator Julián Gallo, known as Carlos Antonio Lozada in his time as a guerrilla, hopes that “the men and women who signed the peace agreement” will be “forgiven for the mistakes, mistakes and excesses that we have committed in the midst of confrontation. “

“Rest assured that we will continue to be firm and consistent in our commitment as a greater guarantee of non-repetition,” he added.


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