The reality of Colombians living in the midst of armed conflicts and violence continues to be complex. These are our calls to action for the year 2023 regarding the issues that concern us the most in Colombia.
Faced with armed conflicts
- It is essential that armed actors allow impartial humanitarian organizations access to the different territories so that they can alleviate the suffering of the civilian population and help mitigate the humanitarian consequences of armed conflicts and violence. This includes respecting the standards and modalities of these organizations, based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
- Within the framework of the dialogues or negotiations that may take place between the Colombian State and the armed groups, it is important that the parties consider commitments that lead to greater respect for IHL, to reduce the effects of armed conflicts and also determine eventual post-conflict obligations. . IHL must not be interpreted politically or related to political decisions, so that its ability to protect people affected by armed conflict is not undermined.
- Respect for IHL means everything to people affected by armed conflict. When the protection conferred by these norms is respected, human suffering decreases. Hence our insistence on the parties to the conflict to protect the lives and dignity of people who do not participate or who have ceased to participate in hostilities and treat them humanely under all circumstances.
- We call on the armed actors to measure and reduce the humanitarian consequences generated by the presence, use and abandonment of explosive devices and the direct and indirect effects they have on the civilian population.
- It is essential that children and adolescents are not associated in any way with armed actors. In this sense, it is important that state and non-state armed actors respect the protection conferred by IHL and other humanitarian norms. Likewise, it is essential that the Colombian State foster spaces for protection and promote opportunities in rural and urban areas in order to prevent the recruitment, use, and participation in hostilities of minors.
- We insist on the importance of the State strengthening its institutional capacity to provide a comprehensive response to people affected by armed conflicts.
- In order to prevent disappearances, we urge armed actors to take the necessary measures, such as proper management of corpses and allowing contact with family members. Likewise, we ask that you hand over to the pertinent institutions dedicated to the search all the information that you have and that is useful to clarify the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared persons.
- We remind prosecutors, judges and authorities in general that the Urgent Search Mechanism is an essential tool that must be activated immediately and appropriately in cases of disappearance.
- We ask the State and Colombian society to continue supporting the Unit for the Search for Persons Deemed Disappeared (UBPD) in the important humanitarian work it carries out. This is both in terms of the financial resources it needs for its operation, as well as in inter-institutional articulation and access to relevant information for the development of its work.
Faced with the Medical Mission and other forms of health care
- We urge the armed actors to cease attacks against people, facilities and medical vehicles that provide health care. In particular, their care and protection is necessary in places where health services are more fragile, as is the case in the areas most affected by armed conflicts and violence.
- We urge citizens to respect, protect and recognize the fundamental role that the Medical Mission and other forms of health care have in society. Likewise, we remind you of the importance of allowing these people to carry out their work in any circumstance and without any type of arbitrary limitation.
Facing people deprived of their liberty in penitentiary centers
- We value the initiatives aimed at reforming and humanizing the penal and prison system promoted by the Colombian State. In particular, we very positively highlight the approval of Bill 093 of the year 2019, which consecrates the public utility service for female heads of households deprived of liberty, as a form of alternative criminal sanction, incorporating the recommendations that we present.
- Taking into account that, despite the efforts made, the State has not been able to fully satisfy the needs of persons deprived of their liberty, and based on the principle of the rational and exceptional use of prison, a redesign of criminal policy is necessary. to guarantee greater access to legal assistance, respect for procedural deadlines and better alternatives to detention, which include a differential approach.