The Colombian government announced on Wednesday that it had reached a protocol that will make it possible to verify the ceasefire agreed with a faction of the dissidents of the extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which did not accept the peace agreement signed by the guerrillas and the State in 2016.
The protocol was an essential gap in the bilateral ceasefire with the dissidences calling themselves the Central General Staff of the FARC-EP, which came into effect from January 1 to June 30, 2023, according to the Colombian government.
The government also agreed to a bilateral ceasefire with Segunda Marquetalia —another faction of the FARC dissidents—, the Self-Defense Forces of the Sierra Nevada and the Clan del Golfo cartel, however, the protocols that will govern these groups have not been disclosed. armed groups.
In a statement, the government detailed that the protocol with the Central General Staff of the FARC-EP “prohibits the transit or permanence” of the illegal armed group in the heads of municipalities, rural areas and primary roads to avoid “any affectation to the life and physical integrity of the civilian population”.
In the urban areas of several municipalities in the country, the presence of groups of armed men, dressed in camouflaged suits, who walk the streets intimidating the population and without being immediately detained by the public force, has been registered in the last year. The last of these occurred a week ago in Yarumal, in the northwest of the country, where armed men entered a school and interacted with the children.
The ceasefire verification and monitoring mechanism will include delegates from the Defense Ministry, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace and an international component, which was not detailed by the government. It will also be accompanied by members of civil society, the Catholic Church and other religious communities.
This mechanism, explained the government, will issue technical concepts and prepare recommendations to prevent and address possible incidents or breaches.
“The Public Force will continue to exercise its security and national defense obligations,” the official statement stressed.
The bilateral ceasefires are part of a strategy by President Gustavo Petro -the first leftist in the country and a guerrilla militant in his youth- to achieve “total peace”, which in practice consists of approaches and peace talks with multiple groups armed groups that operate in the country and maintain confrontations.
The state Ombudsman’s Office documented in a recent report that between January 1 and 20, various illegal groups carried out armed actions within the framework of the ceasefire, including harassment of police stations and the kidnapping of several soldiers, who were later released. .
Petro said Wednesday from Yarumal, at the end of a security council, that the ceasefires in Colombia could not consist only of the suspension of hostilities between two armies, given that although statistics have shown in recent weeks a decrease in the number of injured and dead, other crimes such as extortion, the capture of resources from drug trafficking and smuggling may be increasing.
For the president, the ceasefire must include an end to hostility against the civilian population so that there are no massacres, murders of human rights defenders, displacements, confinements or antipersonnel mines.
Source: VOA Español