Hunger and war: Duque’s human rights legacy

Hunger and war: Duque’s human rights legacy

The three main human rights platforms that bring together more than 500 social organizations from all over the country present a balance of the four years of the government of President Iván Duque Márquez from a human rights perspective.

Bogotá, June 14, 2022. 

“The extermination of social leadership has reached the level of a true genocide, ongoing and unpunished, and constitutes one of the most dramatic expressions of the Duque government’s actions against the peace process”. This is one of the main conclusions of the report “Hunger and war: the legacy of the apprentice” presented by the Colombian Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development (PCDHDD), the Coordination Colombia Europe United States (CCEEU) and the Alliance of Social and Related Organizations (Alianza).

The report shows the analysis in six dimensions from a human rights perspective, such as: socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis; impact of the current government on democracy; implementation of the Peace Agreement; security of social leaders; international relations; and priorities of the human rights agenda in the country.

human rights agenda in the country.

With regard to the murder of social leaders, the number of victims increased from 116 in 2016 to 171 in 2021 (Indepaz, 2016 and 2022) and so far this year, the situation has worsened with 81 new leaders murdered, including, according to Indepaz, the terrifying figure of 310 social leaders in 2021 (Indepaz, 2016 and 2022).

the terrifying figure of 310 leaders assassinated in 2020 alone.

When talking about massacres, the number goes from 9 in 2016 to 33 in 2020 (data from the Ministry of Defense) and according to the United Nations, in 2021, 78 massacres had been verified and others were in the process of verification. Thus, according to MinDefensa data, it went from 12,298 homicides in 2017 to 14,159 in 2021, an increase of more than 1,800 homicides in these five years, with which the government has deepened hunger, war, inequality and Human Rights violations.

Throughout the Peace Process the victims of massive displacement went from10,943 in 2016 to 73,974 victims in 2021, which implies an increase of 675%,according to official data collected by the United Nations humanitarian agency (Ocha,2022). With this, last year the country ranked again as the third most displaced in the world, after Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Center (NRC).


Non-compliance with the Peace Agreement

“The responsibility for the humanitarian crisis and the reactivation of the war lies with the Duque government for not fulfilling the commitments assumed by the State with the Peace Agreement to put an end to the violence; issues such as dismantling paramilitarism, reforming the security agencies and providing guarantees for the free exercise and non-violent repression of social protest, are undoubtedly issues in which this government failed”:assures the report.

Regarding the reactivation of the armed conflict, the systematic assassination of former FARC combatants who signed the peace agreement and trusted that the government would fulfill its commitment to respect their lives is one of the most regrettable impacts of the reactivation of the dynamics of war. In the first five months of 2022, 21 ex-combatants were killed in a state of defenselessness, bringing the unpunished genocide against this group to 320 murders, while 89 have been the object of attempted murder, and 27 have been victims of disappearance (UN, 2022).

On the other hand, forced recruitment increased alarmingly since the Risk Monitoring Mechanism of the Integral System for Peace recorded 242 facts of linking minors with armed groups between December 1, 2016 and March 9, 2022. Therefore, it is clear that the Colombian State, and especially the government of Iván Duque, bears much of the responsibility for the reactivation of the war and the humanitarian crisis that the country is currently experiencing.

The citizen nonconformity that has been manifesting in recent years exploded in 2021 with the social protest that was met with aggression from all points of view and according to the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Colombian government has been the target of the most severe aggression.

Human Rights (OHCHR), “excessive and indiscriminate use of force” was made in the repression of the protest.

According to the report, at least 44 civilians were killed, 28 of them by alleged perpetrators who were members of the security forces, and 10 victims of non-state actors (UNHCHR 2021). A report by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) documented during the 2021 strike the appearance of “armed civilian groups claiming self-defense or paramilitary practices in at least twenty-seven cities in Colombia” (JEP-UIA, 2021).

The increase in hunger and poverty According to the report of Human Rights Platforms in Colombia, during the health crisis

the health crisis, employment was reduced by 11 %, the average income per person by 13.4 %; and the Gini coefficient (4.3 %), poverty (8.1 %) and extreme poverty (6.4 %) increased. The figures indicate that informal workers lost twice as many jobs as formal workers.

In the year 2020, the drop in women’s employment together with youth unemployment was abysmal, leading to an increase of 2’813,187 people in monetary poverty and 2’150,881 people in extreme poverty; the population vulnerable to impoverishment remains around 2’150,881 people in extreme poverty.

The population vulnerable to impoverishment remains at around fifteen million, and the government failed to meet the goals of the development plan in social matters. Thus, our country was consolidated as one of the most unequal in the Latin American region and the third in the OECD.

Likewise, the possibilities of acquiring food and basic services by the most needy continue to be of concern, due to the inflation that grew by 9.23% with respect to 2021. Likewise, the social crisis in a Colombia drowned by hunger, since 54.2% of households suffer from food insecurity.

Public letter to the presidential candidates The platforms and organizations signing this letter propose to the next National Government a wide-ranging humanitarian, human rights and peace agenda based at least on the following considerations:

– Immediate humanitarian measures to confront the crisis that is being experienced in various territories of the country.

– Begin the design of public policies in this area.

– To have a Development Plan that has Human Rights as a cross-cutting and integral approach.

– To assume policies of redistribution of the National Budget to affect those unprotected sectors such as health, education and housing, promoting a decent basic income for the most needy and intersectional and age approaches.

– Adopt the National Human Rights Action Plan following the recommendations of the Vienna Conference in 1993 and design the policy of attention and reparation for the victims of the armed conflict and socio-political violence in Colombia, in accordance with the already existing norms, as a path towards reconciliation.

– The next government should promote state mechanisms to curb the historical impunity related to Human Rights violations and promote a legislative reform of the public forces and a framework of laws on protest, human security and memory policies.


More information:

Press Human Rights Platforms

Mobile: 311 262 7653

[email protected]


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