Réseau France Colombie, an association fighting for fundamental freedoms

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Soraya is the Secretary-General of the Colombian association FCSPP (Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners), founded in 1973 and one of the oldest association in the country. Its actions mainly focus on defending Human Rights through legal support, assisting victims and their families as well as supporting people in detention. The headquarters of this association is located at the National Commission of Security Guarantees (www.comitedesolidaridad.com). Former member of Sembrar, partner organisation of AEDH, Soraya warns us on the current insecure environment surrounding Human Rights defenders in Colombia and more generally the very unpredictable peace process.

For a year, nearly 170 people, leaders involved in local, peasants and union struggles, have been murdered. These figures are very worrying, especially because the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) withdrew from areas they used to control, therefore allowing paramilitary forces supported by some landowners to become stronger throughout the country. Given their relationship with the Colombian police or army, they have a great freedom of action. This is reflected in particular by the lack of resources committed to preserve the security of peace activists and the absence of initiatives undertaken in the search for the truth about the assassinations and the guilty parties.

In response to these events, on Monday, June 12, the FCSPP organised a national day for Human Rights defenders with a major gathering in Bogota, in front of the head office of the Minister of Justice to ask for more security and more resources to fight against terrorism.

Furthermore, Soraya believes that the state might be trying to stifle the demonstrations for the defence of peace and justice in Colombia by conducting a very fierce crackdown. Recently, two people died during these demonstrations. With regard to the ongoing peace process, among the current limits, she points out the issue of the returning activists who fled their country, as well as the need for the truth about the 58,000 people who have been missing since the 1980s, most of whom are deceased.

The fight against violence and corruption, the protection of people and the implementation of spaces for democratic exchange appear as fundamental measures to get back to a form of stability and trust in the state and to continue the peace process.

Jean-Pierre Aldeguer

 

 

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