The Colombian government and the ELN guerrilla group announced this Monday afternoon (4) the carrying out of humanitarian actions and dynamics in areas affected by the armed conflict.
The decision is part of an agreement reached between the parties during the 4th cycle of dialogues that took place in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, which began on August 14th and ended this Monday.
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According to a joint statement, humanitarian actions will be carried out in areas classified as “critical” due to the high incidence of violence resulting from the conflict.
“That’s where the most clashes against communities took place and we are trying to respect a criterion that was imposed at this (dialogue) table, which is: what is agreed upon, will be implemented”, said Pablo Beltrán, head of the ELN delegation in the negotiations.
The choice of “critical zones” was also the result of the agreements of this last cycle of dialogues and will cover the regions of Bajo Calima and San Juan, located in the Valle de Cauca department, in addition to Sur de Bolívar, in Bolívar, and Bajo Cauca, in Antioch.
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Also according to the joint statement, humanitarian actions in these regions must encourage compliance with the six-month ceasefire signed by both parties and the participation of communities in the implementation of the peace process. However, the Colombian government and the armed group did not specify what types of “actions and dynamics” will be carried out.
Furthermore, a partial agreement was announced by the parties and concerns the designation of prisons that hold ELN members as critical zones and, therefore, subject to humanitarian actions.
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“We want to propose progress so that this cycle is the cycle of people, of people who live in the territories most affected by abandonment and violence”, said the head of the government delegation, Otty Patiño.
The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in Mexico, but the date has not yet been set. In addition to Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Norway are countries that guarantee the process.
Since the beginning of his government, President Gustavo Petro has been trying to implement the process that he classifies as “total peace”, with the intention of reaching peace agreements with various armed groups in the country.
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Despite managing to temporarily implement ceasefire pacts with some of them, the project has been facing obstacles due to the high levels of conflict in the country and also the internal crises that the government has been facing.
According to data from Indepaz (Institute of Studies for Development and Peace), 118 social leaders have been murdered in the country since January 2023. The deaths are linked to actions by armed groups in the regions that affect representatives of communities seeking to defend their territories .
Editing: Thales Schmidt