INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION PUBLISHES REPORT
ON DEMOBILIZATION IN COLOMBIA
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today published its “Report on the Demobilization Process in Colombia,” adopted pursuant to its advisory function mandated by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States through resolution CP/Res. 859 (1397/04), “Support to the Peace Process in Colombia.” The Report constitutes the IACHR’s initial approximation to the question of negotiations between armed groups and the Colombian government and the challenges posed by the state's international human rights obligations.
The report points to the principles and standards of international law with respect to the truth, justice, and reparation that should guide efforts to overcome the consequences of armed conflict. It then goes on to review the origins of Colombia’s internal armed conflict, its impact on the civilian population, and the legislative measures adopted in the past to pave the way for armed groups to be reintegrated into civilian life. The report then presents the IACHR’s observations on the current peace efforts in the form of individual and collective demobilization processes and the setting up of a location zone (zona de ubicación), and the legal framework for them. The Report reflects the conclusions reached by the IACHR as a result of its observation of the situation.
The IACHR’s report recognizes that, given the magnitude, duration, and complexity of Colombia’s internal armed conflict, there are no easy solutions. At the same time, international legal principles and norms require that crimes committed during the conflict be duly investigated and that reparation be made to victims.
That being so, the IACHR recommends adopting a comprehensive legal framework that establishes clear conditions for the demobilization of illegal armed groups that are consistent with the state’s international obligations. This legal framework should contemplate and clarify the situation of those who have already acceded to individual and collective demobilization processes. It must also establish mechanisms for genuine participation, on an equal footing, of the victims of the conflict, in order to ensure access to truth, justice, and reparation.
Both the report and an executive summary of it are available on the IACHR Internet portal (www.cidh.org). The analysis and conclusions contained therein draw on information obtained through channels of cooperation with the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OEA), contacts with other institutions in the international community, civil society, and the Government, as well as the IACHR’s on-site observation in Colombia, from July 11 to 17, 2004.
Washington, D.C., December 21, 2004