“The only struggle that is lost is that which is abandoned”, Final Declaration from the III Solidarity Mission to Colombia

Final Declaration from the III Solidarity Mission of La Via Campesina to Colombia

We, the participants of the III International Mission of La Via Campesina for the Observation and Monitoring of the implementation of the Peace Agreement in Colombia, comprising 20 international delegates from 15 countries and allied platforms, dedicated five working days to visit the departments of Bogota, Cauca, Tolima and Cundinamarca.

In these locations we held multiple meetings with organizations of peasants, indigenous peoples and black communities; we also met with State institutions, FARC ex-combatants, representatives of the Congress of the Republic, embassies, international observers, among others. Guided always by the hope in achieving the fulfillment of the General Agreement to End Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace and for the defense of Human Rights.

We conclude that:

The implementation of the agreements for the construction of a Peace with Social Justice is of the utmost importance to the people of Colombia. There is grave concern among peasant organizations, indigenous peoples and black communities regarding the State’s non-compliance. Those with this concern are the main victims of the internal armed conflict in the country. The Peace Agreement has been almost entirely breached by the Colombian government, which we consider has the obligation to implement the Peace Agreement, something we did not observe to be the case neither in the territories nor in public policies.

The III Solidarity Mission of La Via Campesina verified an increase in criminalization, persecution and assassinations of men and women who are social activists and community leaders, as well as of ex-combatants and their relatives, compared to what had been registered in our II Mission of 2017. This indicates to us that the aim of this selective massacre is to crush the defense of the territories and the peace agreements themselves.

The first point in the Peace Agreements which has yet to be implemented, regarding Integral Rural Reform, now runs the risk of not advancing at all due to blocks to funding on the part of the State as it is not included in the National Development Plan (the Colombian government’s policy planning for the next four years). At the same time, we are alarmed by the fact that peasants continue to be disregarded as political legal subjects, even after the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas – was officially adopted by the UN in 2018.

We also note with great concern that social protest – generated by decades of state non-compliance with hundreds of agreements signed with indigenous peoples, peasants and Afro-descendants, and currently accentuated by non-compliance with the Peace Accords – is repressed by military forces and Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squads (ESMAD), thus violating the basic rights to life, social protest, freedom of expression and all international legal frameworks, as happens in the South West region of Colombia in the “Minga Social y Popular”.

As an International Mission, we call on the government of Colombia to reactivate the negotiations between the government and the ELN, as well as the rest of the insurgencies in order to move forward towards a stable and lasting peace, something that demands the recognition and acknowledgment of each and every actor involved in the armed conflict.

True to our history of struggle and solidarity, and in line with the work done in the three Missions to Colombia, La Via Campesina commits to continue working together with the people of Colombia in the construction of peace with social justice. We make a global call for international solidarity, to denounce the systematic violation of human rights in Colombia, before the international bodies. Our goal in this struggle is the defense of life and this deserves all of our efforts together with the people of this beloved country.

The road is long and full of thorns, but we understand that the only struggle that is lost is that which is abandoned.

Globalize the struggle, globalize the hope!!

Bogota – 2 April 2019