More than 100,000 people are in forced confinement in Colombia due to the armed conflict six years after the peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas was signed, the Norwegian Refugee Council (CNR) NGO warned on Thursday (Nov. 24).
“Imagine armed people forcing you to stay at home, day after day. The confinements in Colombia mean that you cannot work, visit your family or send your sons and daughters to school,” said CNR’s acting director in Colombia, Juan Gabriel Wells.
The NGO, which collects the confinement figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), called on the government and armed groups to cease confining entire communities in their homes or territories.
“We call on the Colombian government and armed non-state actors to agree to a lasting peace that benefits vulnerable populations affected by these inhumane mobility restrictions,” Wells added.
The peace agreement was signed on Nov. 24, 2016, in an act at Bogotá’s Teatro Colón. Today, six years later, Colombia remains immersed in “six non-international armed conflicts,” according to Ocha, that affect millions of people.
The CNR states that armed groups “use forced confinement as a strategy to exert control over isolated communities and territories that are often used for illegal activities.”
“More than 2.6 million people have had their movements restricted during 2022 alone, with indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities being some of the most affected,” according to Ocha data cited by the NGO.
“The confinement and mobility restrictions we are witnessing in Colombia are humiliating and degrading. The armed groups must commit to ending this senseless practice immediately,” Wells said.
COMMITMENT TO PEACE AGREEMENT
Although violence persists, the Follow-up and Monitoring Committee (CSM) for the implementation of the Truth Commission’s recommendations for non-repetition of the armed conflict celebrated the six years since the signing of the agreement, “an important navigation chart” for the cessation of violence.
“On this sixth anniversary, the Committee (…) ratifies its commitment to the Agreement and, to this end, enforces the recommendations of the Commission’s Final Report in favor of the rights of victims, for a Colombia where there are are are guarantees of a full life for all people,” the body created by the peace agreement said in a statement.