Procedure : 2021/2643(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0228/2021

Texts tabled :

B9-0228/2021

Debates :

PV 28/04/2021 - 14
CRE 28/04/2021 - 14

Votes :

PV 29/04/2021 - 19

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0160

<Date>{26/04/2021}26.4.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9-0228/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 146kWORD 51k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement in Colombia</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2643(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Manu Pineda</Depute>

<Commission>{The Left}on behalf of The Left Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>


B9-0228/2021

European Parliament resolution on the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement in Colombia

(2021/2643(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on the peace process and the situation in Colombia,

 having regard to the Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace signed by the Colombian Government and FARC-EP on 24 November 2016,

 having regard to the creation of a Special Jurisdiction for Peace as a mechanism to ensure justice and reparation,

 having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service of 26 February 2021 on Colombia: violence against human rights defenders,

 having regard to the Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru signed on 26 July 2012, which Ecuador joined on 1 January 2017,

 having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General of 26 March 2021 on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia,

 having regard to the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 10 February 2021 on the human rights situation in Colombia,

 having regard to the joint statement by the UN System in Colombia and the UN Verification Mission in Colombia of 17 August 2020,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) reached a final agreement to terminate a conflict lasting over 50 years in 2016 after four years of negotiations in Havana; whereas this agreement recognises the right of the Colombian people to live in peace and ensures the duty of the state to promote human rights and ensure economic and social development;

B. whereas the Final Agreement took into the account the structural reasons for the Colombian conflict, gave comprehensive responses to them in different areas and includes points on comprehensive rural development, political participation and democratic openness for building peace, the end of the conflict, a solution to the problem of illicit drugs, and the rights of victims; whereas the agreements continue to be implemented unevenly and have not achieved the impact required to create guarantees for peace;

C. whereas the point on comprehensive rural reforms, which includes, inter alia, guaranteeing access to land, guaranteeing public services in rural areas, and developing agriculture from a food security perspective, has the lowest level of implementation; whereas the provisions related to gender policies also have a low level of implementation by the Colombian Government;

D. whereas the point on the rights of victims establishes the creation of a Commission for the Clarification of the Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition, as well as a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, in order to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the context of the conflict; whereas reparation for victims and the guarantee of non-repetition are fundamental elements in securing fair and lasting peace;

E. whereas FARC-EP completed its UN-monitored disarmament process in June 2017; whereas, despite the provision in the Final Agreement, the Colombian Government has not adopted the policy envisaged in the Peace Agreement regarding the dismantling of illegal armed groups, criminal organisations and their support networks; whereas the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has expressed that the measures taken in this area and to protect human rights defenders and former combatants are insufficient;

F. whereas the power of non-state armed groups, including far-right paramilitary successor groups, has increased in recent years; whereas these groups have gained territorial and social control in parts of the country, with particularly devastating consequences for rural farming communities, peasants, and indigenous and afro-descendant communities;

G. whereas the EU plays an important role in the implementation of the Final Agreement by providing technical and financial support through the EU Trust Fund for Colombia; whereas this gives the EU a responsibility to closely follow the implementation of the agreement;

H. whereas five years after the signature of the Final Agreement, political violence remains prevalent in Colombia; whereas in 2020 alone 133 human right defenders were murdered and 795 were victims of documented threats and attacks; whereas in 2020 53 % of human rights defenders killed globally were in Colombia; whereas the recommendations related to gender perspective envisaged in the security mechanisms established by the agreement have not been developed, further endangering the situation of women human rights defenders and social leaders;

I. whereas the murders of former FARC-EP combatants who exercised social and political leadership after the agreement have continued to increase in recent years, amounting to up to 248 since the signing of the Final Agreement, including 73 in 2020;

J. whereas trade unionists and peasant leaders continue to be persecuted in different ways in Colombia; whereas according to International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) data 15 trade unionists were murdered in Colombia in 2020, 4 suffered murder attempts and 198 received death threats;

K. whereas Colombia has the highest number of murdered environmental defenders in the world, with 64 cases reported in 2020; whereas these murders have been perpetrated in a context of increasing deforestation, aerial spraying and large-scale illegal mining, which pose threats to biodiversity and the sustainability of water resources and which will have irreversible consequences globally if not immediately stopped;

L. whereas criminal and paramilitary successor groups continue to disproportionally target afro-descendent and indigenous communities; whereas 53 people from indigenous communities were murdered in 2020 in this context, including 17 Awá indigenous people murdered in the Nariño Department and 19 Nasa indigenous people in the Cauca Department; whereas hundreds of indigenous and afro-descendant people have been forcibly displaced in recent years;

M. whereas 76 massacres were documented in Colombia in 2020, amounting to 292 deaths, including 24 children; whereas the number of massacres has continued to increase and 2020 marks the highest number since 2014, before the signature of the Final Agreement;

N. whereas the majority of murders, threats and attacks in the country go unpunished; whereas this is related to the position that armed and paramilitary successor groups continue to occupy in the social and political structure of the country and other structural problems such as the lack of access to justice and other rights and services in rural areas;

O. whereas the Special Jurisdiction for Peace published a report on 23 February 2021 revealing that at least 6 402 people were killed in Colombia between 2002 and 2008 in extra-judicial killings by the army and falsely presented as having been killed in combat; whereas these cases, known as the ‘falsos positivos’, go back for decades and continued after 2008, and the actual number of such victims is therefore much higher; whereas those responsible for this systematic policy must be held accountable;

P. whereas in 2020 42 cases of people killed during police and military operations or in state custody were also reported; whereas in these cases investigations were initiated by the Attorney General;

Q. whereas police forces used lethal weapons in Bogotá during the protests against police violence that took place in September 2020; whereas 11 people were killed during the repression of these protests; whereas people were arrested arbitrarily, among whom two were reportedly victims of sexual violence, and journalists were violently attacked by police forces;

R. whereas there are 8.1 million internally displaced people in Colombia, amounting to more than 16 % of the population; whereas 25 366 people were victims of mass displacements in Colombia in 2020, primarily in the departments of Antioquia, Chocó and Nariño; whereas in the first trimester of 2021 the UNHCR has already documented 32 mass internal displacements amounting to 15 937 people;

S. whereas the EU and Colombia have been part of a multi-party trade agreement since 2012, which was opposed by different sectors of Colombian society for reasons including the context of violence and the lack of human rights guarantees; whereas Article 1 of the agreement establishes that respect for the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principle of the rule of law are essential elements of the agreement; whereas the agreement has not been conditioned to their fulfilment;

T. whereas concessions granted to multinational corporations have had and continue to have negative consequences both environmentally and in terms of human rights for the populations and territories in which they are developed; whereas operations in sectors such as mining, energy and agro-industry, some of which are led by EU companies, continue to be carried out without adequate social or environmental impact studies, with consequences such as the ongoing health problems amongst the Wayuu indigenous people in La Guajira Department after open-pit mining operations were begun near their lands; whereas these situations have led to mass displacements and have been linked to violence from criminal or paramilitary successor groups, such as the murder of the environmental activist Juana María Perea Plata on 29 October 2020 in the Chocó Department, known for her opposition to the construction of a port in Tribugá which would have a devastating environmental impact;

U. whereas Colombian society is characterised by a very high level of inequality; whereas poverty has increased in recent years and 34 % of the population now lives below the poverty line, but this percentage doubles in departments such as Chocó; whereas women are in a position of greater vulnerability to the increase of poverty caused by the pandemic given their overrepresentation in the informal labour market and the rate of unemployment among women, which is almost double that among men;

V. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the consequences of the lack of universal healthcare access in the country, as well as the lack of access to water and sanitation which is still prevalent in certain areas; whereas the virus has disproportionally affected people in rural areas and indigenous and afro-descendent communities, as reflected by the fact that the department with the highest rate of infection and mortality rates is the Amazonas Department, which has an indigenous majority;

1. Reiterates its full support to the Colombian Peace Agreement and calls for the full implementation of all the provisions included in the Final Agreement, and recalls that its different parts cannot be treated separately; stresses that it is the primary responsibility of the Colombian Government and state to ensure that it is comprehensively implemented as a guarantee for peace;

2. Expresses deep concern over the human rights situation and its deterioration over the last five years, and condemns the ongoing murders and violence against former FARC-EP combatants, leaders and representatives of the political opposition, human rights defenders, trade unionists, environmental activists, and indigenous and afro-descendent communities; calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and the EEAS to express this concern and implement mechanisms for dialogue and the monitoring of the implementation of the Final Agreement in their exchanges with the Colombian authorities;

3. Supports the Comprehensive System of Justice, Truth, Reparation and Non-repetition, and its efforts to ensure the right to truth as a fundamental guarantee for non-repetition, accountability, and the rights of victims, and calls for the EU to keep monitoring all its components; recalls that these are fundamental in order to achieve justice and lasting peace as reflected in the Final Agreement; expresses concern over the statements from certain Colombian public authorities questioning the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which is a central part of the agreement; calls on all parties and components of Colombian society, including the private business sector, to collaborate with the Commission for the Clarification of the Truth in order to ensure that it can carry out its mandate;

4. Recalls that the Colombian Government has the responsibility to protect its entire population; deplores the continuous violence, threats and murders that human rights defenders, social leaders, environmental activists, trade unionists, and others continue to face daily; calls on the Colombian Government to ensure the implementation of Article 3.4 of the Final Agreement which ensures the right to protection in a comprehensive way, as opposed to the current government policy of militarising certain territories; deplores the cases of threats and attacks against victims of the armed conflict, as well as their families and their organisations, after they have made use of the institutions part of the System for Justice, Truth, Reparation and Non-repetition; deplores the harassment and attacks suffered by human rights defenders who participate in judicial proceedings involving senior state officials and members of the military forces;

5. Urges the Colombian authorities to take effective measures in order to dismantle criminal and paramilitary successor groups; stresses the need for the authorities to ensure that there is no impunity for paramilitaries and to ensure that crimes are investigated and punished, including for those imprisoned for other crimes outside Colombia who are now returning to the country; expresses deep concern regarding the collusion of these groups with the interests of foreign multinational corporations, including EU companies; stresses that a thorough investigation of this issue is yet to be conducted and that full transparency and accountability are required;

6. Urges the Colombian Government to recognise the atmosphere of persecution that human rights defenders are experiencing because of their work and to take effective steps to solve the situation; rejects the attempts to minimise this situation by alleging the widespread climate of violence;

7. Urges the Colombian Government to develop all the provisions reflected in the agreement, including by implementing comprehensive rural reform, guaranteeing access to land, and granting equal access to public services and rights to people from rural areas; calls on the Colombian authorities to ensure that all the measures developed in the context of the Peace Agreement are implemented with the gender and LGBTI perspective it reflects;

8. Recalls that the involvement of civil society groups in the process is a fundamental part of the Final Agreement and therefore that their participation must be ensured in the development, implementation and evaluation of all policies related to the agreement, included those funded by the EU;

9. Calls on the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to re-open negotiations in order to move forward in the achievement of peace in Colombia; considers that the agreement reached between the Colombian Government and FARC-EP provides a positive example to solve the ongoing conflict through dialogue and with full guarantees for its victims, if fully implemented;

10. Stresses that the root causes of the Colombian conflict are related to inequality, and therefore calls for concrete steps to be implemented to reduce inequality and ensure universal access to public services and rights, particularly for the rural population and indigenous and afro-descendent communities; stresses that this should be one of the main goals of EU funding in the present context;

11. Calls on the Commission to move away from the model of Trust Funds, which do not ensure sufficient transparency and democratic accountability over the use of funds; calls for EU funding for the implementation of the Peace Agreement to be continued in a way that ensures democratic scrutiny, accountability and the participation of civil society organisations throughout the process; insists that all forms of financial support provided by the EU to Colombia directly or indirectly should be subjected to a human rights impact assessment;

12. Calls for the suspension of the Trade Agreement between Colombia and the EU given the repeated violations of Article 1 thereof through the activation of its democratic and human rights clause which allows for the suspension of the Trade Agreement either totally or partially for specific products whose production is closely linked to violence such as palm oil or beef; calls for a new model of trade to be promoted between the EU and Colombia based on the principles of sustainability and the promotion of small-scale production and work with rights for both sides;

13. Expresses concern at the alarming levels of deforestation, aerial spraying and other environmentally harmful activities such as open-air mining and large-scale mining, which are also having a deep impact on local communities and thereby contributing to the deteriorating situation; recalls the involvement of multinational corporations in environmentally destructive activities which have generated great amounts of violence in Colombia, and calls for the swift implementation of a mandatory and ambitious due diligence regulation in the EU; urges the EU and its Member States to support in the UN and other international forums the elaboration of a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights; calls on the Colombian authorities to ratify the Escazú Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters, which would increase protection for environmental defenders;

14. Calls on the Colombian authorities to guarantee the right to demonstrate and to protest, including by adapting its legislation to comply with international standards on the topic set out by international law and the different UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommendations on the topic;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Government of Colombia and the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly.

 

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