The signatories hereto, human rights campaigners, intellectuals, academics and cultural professionals from different parts of the world, from different disciplines and political orientations, express our support for the peace process in Colombia.
One year ago, the Colombian government and the guerilla FARC-EP signed, after five years of laborious negotiations, a peace agreement intended to end several decades of armed conflict and political and social violence. Considered by international observers as a political and juridical model capable of ending the state of war, the agreement planned for the disarmament of the insurgent forces and their transformation into a political movement, the reinsertion of the combatants into civil life, the implementation of transitional justice (the JEP) and a series of political, economic and social reforms in relation to agrarian politics, including, among other items, the redistribution of land, the substitution of coca leaf farming and the development of Peasant Reserve Zones (Zonas de Reserva Campesina - ZRC).
Assessing the implementation of the agreement one year later raises serious concerns among partisans and actors of peace, both in Colombia and internationally. While the number of people killed in relation to the armed conflict significantly diminished between 2012 (the beginning of the peace talks) and 2016, the assassinations of human rights campaigners, social leaders and demobilized combatants of the FARC guerilla have multiplied since the agreement was signed. Several regions, having been vacated by the FARC due to their demobilization, have since been occupied by extreme right paramilitary groups. Between the 24th of November 2016 and the 31th of October 2017, 94 homicides of social leaders and human rights campaigners have been perpetrated (one person killed every fourth day), while 21 ex-combatants of FARC and 11 family members of ex-combatants have been assassinated.
Moreover, essential arrangements of the agreement (aid for the reinsertion of ex-combatants, liberating ex-combatants from prison, transitional justice, political reform, rural reform, the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, essential for responding to the suffering of the victims of the conflict) have been either not yet implemented, or unilaterally modified by the public authorities, or simply abolished. The 21th of November 2017, Jean Arnault, president of the Mission of Verification for the United Nations in Colombia, asserted the shortcomings of the State on the matter of reinsertion, for which there is no framework or plan at present, at a moment when several thousand ex-combatants languish in the 26 Territorial Spaces of Training and Reinsertion (ETCR). Faced with these broken promises, more than half of the 8000 demobilized FARC combatants present in the ETCRin May 2017 have left to get to safer places. Some have rejoined dissident groups aiming to continue the war, some the ELN guerrilla that is in peace talks with the government since February 2017.
The lack of respect for essential arrangements of the agreement signed by both parties, on the one hand, and the resurgence of assassinations and other forms of socio-political violence, on the other, gravely compromise the outcome of a peace process that inspired such hope for millions of Colombians. We observe with deep concern the positions of certain State officials who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, have declared that the assassinations of social leaders, human rights campaigners and ex-combatants have “no systematic character” and that the paramilitary groups “do not exist”. Likewise, the openly hostile position in regard to the peace agreement held by certain candidates to the upcoming legislative and presidential elections in 2018, diminishes the chances for peace and contributes to the perspective of a return to a state of war that, due to the frustrations accumulated by the most vulnerable parts of society, risks previously unimagined levels of violence. At this moment, when the future of peace is at stake in Colombia, we call to the international community for their support to the efforts and for protection of the lives of all those who, in Colombia, are constructing peace day after day with their social, political and cultural practices.
Étienne Balibar, philosopher (France); Judith Butler, philosopher (USA); Michael Lowy, sociologist (France); Eric Fassin, sociologist (France), Geneviève Fraisse, philosopher (France); Ann Fergusson, philosopher (USA), Stéphane Douailler, sociologist (France); Raul Fornet Betancourt, philosopher (Germany); Guy Bajoit, sociologist (Belgium); Matthieu de Nanteuil, sociologist (Belgium); Jean De Munck, sociologist (Belgium); Remedios Mataix, Literary Studies (Spain); Franz Hinkelammert, philosopher (Costa Rica); Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, sociologist (Bolivia); Miguel Giusti, philosopher (Peru); Héctor Samour, philosopher (El Salvador); Horacio Cerutti, philosopher (Mexico); Atilio A. Boron, political scientist (Argentina); Claudia Hilb, political scientist (Argentina); Vincent Gabriel Furtado, philosopher (India); Juan Manuel Echavarría, artist (Colombia), Mara Viveros Vigoya, Gender Studies (Colombia); Rodrigo Uprimny, lawyer (Colombia); Leopoldo Múnera Ruiz, political scientist and lawyer (Colombia); Óscar Mejía Quintana, political scientist and lawyer (Colombia); Gregorio Mesa Cuadros, sociologist (Colombia); Sergio Ayala, PhD student (Colombia); Robert Chaluleau, Mission Manager in Colombia (France); Marie Estripeaut-Bourjac, Latin American Studies (France); Alfredo Gomez Muller, philosopher (France); Achille Mbembe, historian and sociologist (South Africa).
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