Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Fears for aid projects in Colombia as peace talks break down
Comment Email Print
¬†The Catholic Aid Agency CAFOD fears that paramilitary groups will target its partners in Colombia following the breakdown of the country's peace process. Since the ending of peace talks between the Colombian Government and the country's main rebel group, death threats have been published in the region formerly controlled by the rebels. Francis McDonagh, CAFOD Latin America Programme Officer, said: "We are worried that community leaders, church personnel and development workers will be targeted. It would be typical of what happens in Colombia". The three-year negotiations between the government and the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ended last week after FARC hijacked a plane and kidnapped a senator. While the talks continued, FARC had been allowed to operate in a safe haven in the south of the country. But now the Colombian army has reoccupied San Vicente del CaguŠn, the main town of the former haven. CAFOD has partners based in San Vicente and there are worrying signs that right-wing paramilitaries, opposed to FARC, are now targeting the area. Human rights groups say there is evidence that the paramilitaries are effectively allies of the army in the conflict. In a sinister development a letter has appeared in San Vicente threatening people it referred to as "guerrilla collaborators" with death if they do not leave the town. "During the peace process, FARC were the de facto authority in the area and so organisations were obliged to deal with them in the course of their legitimate activity. The letter is a typical act of the paramilitaries, whose brutality is notorious. We fear for the safety of our partners," added Francis McDonagh. CAFOD is also asking the British government to urge the Colombian government not to abandon the path of negotiation, despite the difficulties. "Even critics of the recent peace process admit that a military solution is inconceivable, and sooner or later there will have to be new talks," said Francis McDonagh. "CAFOD wholeheartedly supports the position of the Colombian bishops that 'dialogue and negotiation are the way to overcome conflicts and establish a culture of peace'."
Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: None


Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: