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Colombia Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) begins its work in Chocó and Urabá

Colombia Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) begins its work in Chocó and Urabá

The next is a abstract of data offered by the JEP in Spanish, which might be discovered right here.

On four March 2019, communities from the Humanitarian Zone Nueva Esperanza in Cacarica (Bajo Atrato-Urabá-Chocoano) added their oral testimonies relating to the intense crimes dedicated towards them within the context of Colombia’s inner armed battle to the testimonies delivered on 10 December 2018.

The testimonies have been introduced by the:

  • Comunidad de Vida y Trabajo (Group of Life and Work), La Balsita, Dabeiba;
  • the Group Council of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of Jiguamiandó, Curbaradó, La Larga Tumaradó and Pedeguita Mancilla;
  • the Indigenous Resguardo (Reservation) Alto Guayabal;
  • the Cooperativa Blanquicet; and
  • the Affiliation of Victims of Violence in Riosucio.

The target of the listening to was to gather the
testimonies of victims of violations dedicated by totally different armed actors within the
Bajo Atrato area between 1995 and 1997, specifically the paramilitaries, FARC
guerrilla and the Safety Forces.

The testimonies have been introduced to the “Chamber for the Recognition of Fact, Duty and Willpower of the Information and Conduct of the JEP” (La Sala de Reconocimiento de Verdad, de Responsabilidad y de Determinación de los Hechos y Conductas de la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz -JEP) the oral part of the combined report on critical crimes dedicated, together with the pressured displacement and subsequent dispossession of the lands of the communities within the context of the armed battle.

This listening to is symbolic as it’s the first to be
held in such an remoted rural area. Chocó is among the prime ten hotspots of
biodiversity on the planet. In contrast to some other Colombian Division, 95 per cent
of the inhabitants is indigenous and Afro-descendant. It has additionally skilled
steady abandonment by the Colombian State. As we speak this area continues to
expertise a humanitarian

The testimonies submitted by the communities’ type a part of the proof for case 04 opened by the JEP, which prioritises the state of affairs of the municipalities of Turbo, Apartadó, Carepa, Chigorodó, Mutatá, Dabeiba (Antioquia) and El Carmen del Darién and Riosucio (Chocó).

We voluntarily clarify what occurred, the disappearances and massacres of our comrades, the threats of the leaders, which is why we at the moment are demanding our proper to the reality.

— sufferer from the Indigenous group of Alto Guayabal


Snapshot of the historical past of the battle within the area

Operation Genesis (from ABColombia’s report “Fuelling Battle in Chocó”, see extra right here.)

Chocó is a distant space of Colombia and, as such, had skilled restricted battle till 1997 when Operation Genesis, a military-paramilitary offensive, started within the north of the division inflicting terror and mass pressured displacement. In that yr alone, 27,433 individuals in Chocó have been forcibly displaced because the paramilitaries moved southwards en masse.[1] The river communities from Riosucio to Quibdó felt the pressure of their violence, with the Observatory for the Presidential Programme on Human Rights and Worldwide Humanitarian Regulation registering an depth within the battle ‘not often seen’.[2]

The planes bombed through the day and the mosquitoes completed us off at night time… I felt ailing and requested God to assist me attain shelter in order that the kid wouldn’t be born within the countryside. At 5 the ache began, and I gave delivery at six. In the course of the march by way of the rainforest, seven youngsters died from exhaustion, starvation and drowning throughout river crossings.

— Younger lady pressured to flee her residence in Bajo Atrato

This violence coincided with the appliance for collective possession of land by Afro-descendant communities in Chocó, a proper included into the 1991 Structure and enacted via Regulation 70 of 1993. By the late 1990s, most of the communities had established the governing buildings required by Regulation 70 and had began submitting purposes to the State for his or her formal land titles. On the similar time the right-wing paramilitary teams Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), shaped right into a nationwide construction with certainly one of its prime aims to take management of land occupied by Afro-descendants for which collective title deeds had not but been issued or the place the appliance had been submitted. The leaders of Group Councils (governing physique of collectively owned land) making use of for collective land rights have been threatened, attacked and murdered.[3]

The civilian inhabitants has suffered human rights violations and abuses by all armed actors. These violations embrace financial blockades, kidnapping, threats, persecution, massacres, torture, killings, dismembering of our bodies, selective executions, pressured disappearances, sexual violence, intimidation, anti-personnel mines, burning of villages and acts of ‘social cleaning’.[4] 

The Colombian Safety Forces in Chocó operated in collusion or in joint operations with the AUC,[5] leaving the inhabitants utterly uncovered to the violations and abuses with no authorities to show to for cover. By 2001, in Chocó the AUC numbered over eight,000 members.[6]

Regardless of the
Peace Accord which was signed in November 2016, between
the Authorities and the FARC, the interior battle continues at this time. When the
FARC left their conventional strongholds to demobilise the facility vacuum left
behind was not crammed by the state. In consequence, these energy vacuums grow to be
areas which different unlawful armed teams fought to regulate, specifically, the ELN guerrilla
(the second largest guerrilla group in Colombia; it was not included in Peace
Talks with the FARC), neo-paramilitary teams (these go underneath numerous names),
the ELP guerrilla and the FARC dissidents. During the last months, communities
in Urabá and Choco have been reporting an elevated presence of the ELN and
the AGC neo-paramilitary
group within the Atrato area. The elevated militarisation of Indigenous and
Afro-Colombian collectively owned territories has led to infractions of
Worldwide Humanitarian Regulation (IHL), combats with the communities within the
center, armed incursions, pressured displacement and compelled recruitment of
youngsters, in addition to, using anti-personnel mines of their territory.

Case of “Operation Genesis”
was taken to the Inter-American Courtroom of Human Rights

Victims describe what occurred in
“Operation Genesis,” in a report back to the Inter-American Fee of Human
Rights (IACHR Report N 86/06). Operation Genesis was designed by the XVII
Brigade of the Nationwide Military to fight the FARC-EP presence within the area however
that it was carried out with the direct involvement of paramilitaries sporting
AUC and ACCU (Campesino Self-Defenders of Córdoba and Urabá) insignia. They
additionally alleged that the armed males who participated within the army operation
murdered the social chief Mr
Marino López.

Right here is an extract from the victims/petitioners introduced to the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights – IACHR (the complete model might be learn right here, paragraphs 11 to 20):

“The petitioners declare that between February 24 and
27, 1997, the Afro-descendants dwelling alongside the River Cacarica have been affected
by a collection of aerial and land-based bombardments, raids, assaults on their
property, and threatening behaviour that led to the pressured displacement of
their communities. They declare that this operation, referred to as “Operation Genesis,”
was designed by the XVII Brigade of the Nationwide Military to fight the FARC-EP
presence within the area however that it was carried out with the direct involvement
of paramilitaries sporting AUC and ACCU insignia. Additionally they alleged that the
armed males who participated within the army operation murdered Mr. Marino López.

Particularly, they declare that on February 24, 1997,
airplanes and helicopters flew over the Cacarica basin area, and troops from
the Military’s XVII Brigade started shifting overland towards the world. In the course of the
morning, they declare, representatives from the Afro-descendant communities tried
to satisfy with the officer answerable for the operation in Bocachica, recognized as
Maj. Salomón, to which finish they approached a gaggle of troopers stationed on the
floor. The say they needed to cross a number of safety cordons manned by members of
the AUC and the ACCU and that they solely managed to talk with an armed and
camouflaged civilian by the identify of Cornelio Maquilon, who informed them he was
approved to talk for Maj. Salomón and advised them to go for the municipality
of Turbo in Antioquia.

The petitioners report that in the course of the afternoon,
the primary pressured displacement of tens of households occurred: some headed for
larger land, and others walked for greater than ten hours till they reached the
River Atrato and sought refuge within the municipality of Turbo. By 7:45 p.m. the
bombardments of the Salaquí and Cacarica river basins had begun, they usually
continued for 3 hours.

They declare that the second “wave” of collective
displacements happened that very same night, when army operations started in
the group of Puente América on the banks of the Atrato. They report that
armed males ordered the Afro-descendant residents of the world to go away in 24
hours have been up and left indicators studying “Lengthy stay the paramilitaries of Chocó and
Córdoba” and “A/C: Dying to Guerrillas and Informers.”

The petitioners declare that on February 26, 1997, at
round 1:10 p.m., some 150 civilians sporting armbands of the Voltigeros
Battalion of the Military’s XVII Brigade and the Marines arrived on the settlement
of Bijao alongside the River Cacarica, firing their weapons. Upon listening to the
explosions, some group members stampeded towards the mountainous a part of the
land, the place they met with models concerned within the army operation that have been
surrounding the settlement. For 20 minutes the armed males fired their weapons
and threw grenades on the roofs of their houses, whereas others ransacked homes,
outlets, and barns. Additionally they sprayed the group’s outboard motors with
machinegun hearth and set hearth to an electrical energy plant.

The petitioners declare that at round 1:30 p.m., the
armed males pressured the members of the group to collect within the schoolhouse,
the place they have been advised that that they had three days to desert their lands. When
requested concerning the purpose for the eviction, they replied that these have been the
orders that they had and that “in the event that they weren’t out in three days, [they] wouldn’t
be chargeable for the results.”

The petitioners declare that the subsequent day, February
27, 1997, the armed males tortured and decapitated Marino López Imply.  The
petitioners state that members of the army and paramilitaries then kicked
it on repeated events, as if it have been a soccer match, following which they
invited the members of the group of Bijao who noticed the incident to hitch in
the sport.

The petitioners declare that in the course of the morning hours
of February 27, 1997, armed males sporting the insignia of the Voltigeros
Battalion of Brigade XVII and of the ACCU entered the group of Bocas del
Limón, on the banks of the River Peranchito; they ordered the Afro-descendants
to desert their houses for 15 days and stated that the Nationwide Police was ready
for them in Turbo. The petitioners report that because the assembly was happening,
the armed males burned down two houses and a small retailer belonging to the
group’s Ladies’s Committee. Additionally they ransacked group property and left
slogans on the partitions of the homes, with footage of skulls and the legend
“Demise to the Guerrillas. Sincerely, ACCU. The Ox.” Earlier than leaving, the armed
males made a menace: “In 4 days’ time, if we discover anybody right here, we’ll minimize their
heads off.”

The petitioners declare that the primary three
displacements within the communities of Bocachica, Teguerré, Villa Hermosa,
Bijao-Cacarica, El Limón, Quebrada Bonita, and Barranquilla have been adopted by
others within the remaining villages. By February 28, 1997, virtually 2,500 individuals had
been displaced from the Cacarica space to Turbo, Bocas del Atrato, and Panama.
Only a few residents determined to stay within the Cacarica basin.

The displaced individuals who determined to take refuge in
Turbo have been first taken there by police models in vans and animal carts. A
giant proportion gathered collectively on the sports activities stadium, the place they remained
for a number of months in circumstances of subhuman overcrowding. In flip, the individuals
of Bijao, Puente América, La Honda, and El Limón who have been unable to succeed in Turbo
took refuge in Bocas del Atrato, the place they have been initially given shelter in a
schoolroom. Those that tried to return to the Cacarica space met with a army
checkpoint at La Loma. One other group of 250 residents – principally ladies and
youngsters – reached the border with Panama after a 15-day hike by way of the

[1], El Atrato: Dos décadas de guerra, 23 November 2014. Centro de
Recursos para el Análisis de Conflictos

[2], El
Atrato: Dos décadas de guerra, 23 November 2014.

[3] Programa Somos Defensores, Los Nadies, August 2015.

[4] Conferencia Episcopal de Colombia, Atrato: entre la tragedia, el destierro y el abandono, July 2002; Inter-American Fee on Human Rights (IACHR) listening to on the human rights state of affairs of displaced Afro-Colombians, 131st common session, 12 March 2008; IACHR listening to on racial discrimination and entry to justice of Afro-descendants in Colombia, 133rd common session, 23 October 2008.

[5] See, for instance, Inter-American Courtroom of Human Rights, Case of the Afro-descendant Communities displaced from the Cacarica River Basin (Operation Genesis) v. Colombia,  Judgment of November 20, 2013, (Preliminary objections, deserves, reparations and prices), paragraphs 278 and 279;  testimony of paramilitary chief Freddy Rendón,

[6] ABColombia Report, Fuelling Battle in Choco

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