We are concerned at the recent admission by Colombia’s attorney general that his office does not have evidence against the FARC peace negotiator and congressman-elect Jesús Santrich, who has been imprisoned since 9 April.

Jesús Santrich speaks during a press conference in Bogota in December 2017. Photograph: EPA

A recent delegation of British MPs, trade union leaders and lawyers visited Santrich in his cell and was shocked at the conditions. Due to poor conditions and a 41-day hunger strike, his health has deteriorated sharply.

Santrich was a key negotiator during the 2012-16 peace dialogues between the Colombian government and the FARC , which has since re-formed as a political party and entered the Colombian congress. In September, the TUC unanimously passed an emergency resolution calling Santrich’s detention “a direct threat to the agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC ”.

Other areas of the peace process suffer from slow or non-implementation. The most conflict-affected and poorest communities have yet to receive any benefits of the agreement. Congressional changes to the truth and justice chapter could allow some of the conflict’s worst human rights abusers to evade justice.

Even more alarmingly, around 400 social activists have been murdered since 2016. People working to implement the peace process are routinely killed. In addition, around 80 FARC former combatants and at least 20 close family members have been murdered.

Britiain’s The Guardian newspaper is asking the British government to support Colombia in implementing the agreement and to address the human rights catastrophe affecting the country.

“We also urge the Colombian authorities to guarantee Jesús Santrich’s fundamental rights,” the publication calls in November 18, 2018 edition.

 

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