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Colombia: Colombia: Boletín Humanitario Mensual - Número 52 | Agosto 2016

Colombia - Chad - 3 hours 48 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Colombia

DESTACADOS

  • Conmemoración del Día Mundial Humanitario

  • El impacto humanitario de las nuevas dinámicas del conflicto armado (IECAH)

  • Aumenta el desplazamiento intraurbano en el Catatumbo

  • Quinta edición del ejercicio de simulación SIMEX

Mitos y realidades del trabajo humanitario

Por Gerard Gómez, Jefe de la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas para la Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios (OCHA) en Colombia.

La firma del Acuerdo de Paz entre el gobierno de Colombia y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) pone fin a más de cincuenta años de enfrentamiento armado. Con este acuerdo aparecerán nuevas oportunidades para el país: no cabe dudaque las instituciones locales, nacionales e internacionales pondrán todos sus esfuerzos para una adecuada implementación de esos acuerdos históricos.

En este contexto es fundamental que las organizaciones humanitarias continúen con el trabajo que vienen implementando en los territorios más remotos de Colombia. Es importante porque otros grupos armados distintos de las FARC-EP han ido reconfigurando su actuación y son, en algunos departamentos, los responsables de los más graves impactos humanitarios sobre la población civil y podrían representar una amenaza para la construcción de la paz.

Con ocasión del Día Mundial Humanitario, que se celebró el 19 de agosto, quisiera aclarar unos mitos y realidades alrededor de la ayuda y de la comunidad humanitaria en Colombia.

El primer mito es que los actores humanitarios somos pesimistas, como si tuvieramos un interés especial en difundir malas noticias, o como si nuestra única motivación fuese justificar nuestra presencia en un país. Quiero destacar que los trabajadores humanitarios anhelamos la paz y apoyamos todas las soluciones que alivien el sufrimiento de la población. Nadie mejor que nosotros ha podido conocer de primera mano el dolor que sufre la población civil afectada por una crisis. Pero, mientras haya nuevas víctimas, mientras haya población con limitaciones al acceso, mientras haya crisis olvidadas y situaciones que necesitan una respuesta humanitaria, el imperativo humanitario nos obliga a seguir hablando en nombre de las personas que no tienen voz. Hablar de las víctimas de otros grupos armados, visibilizar sus necesidades humanitarias y las violaciones de sus derechos, trabajando al mismo tiempo con las instituciones colombianas para encontrar soluciones, también es contribuir a la construcción de la paz.

El segundo mito es que no nos coordinamos con el Estado o con las instituciones locales. Si bien es cierto que uno de los principios humanitarios fundamentales es la independencia, los trabajadores humanitarios complementamos la acción estatal y no queremos sustituir al Estado, sobre todo en casos como el de Colombia, donde el Estado tiene capacidad de respuesta. Nuestro valor agregado está en llenar brechas críticas y en brindar respuesta específica basada en estándares internacionales. En Colombia el Equipo Humanitario de País(EHP) y los Equipos Locales de Coordinación (ELC) mantienen contacto permanente con las contrapartes estatales, como por ejemplo la Unidad para la Atención y reparación Integral a las Víctimas (UARIV) o la Unidad Nacional para la Gestión del Riesgo de desastres (UNGRD), las Alcaldías, las Gobernaciones y la Defensoría. Esta complementariedad existe en la definición de marcos legales, en la búsqueda de soluciones para grupos vulnerables, en el mejoramiento de la información, entre otros.

El tercer mito es que las organizaciones humanitarias solo estarían integradas por personal internacional que no conoce la cultura del páis en él que opera. En Colombia más del 90 por ciento del personal humanitario es colombiano. Las organizaciones internacionales emplean a personas de las mismas comunidades, que conocen el contexto y conocen a la población con necesidades.1 En varios casos estos actores humanitarios son los únicos que acompañan a las comunidades mas alejadas. Este conocimiento profundo de la realidad del territorio es un valor agregado y representa una oportunidad para aportar a la construcción de la paz.

En lugar de separar las acciones de construcciones de paz, de desarrollo o de ayuda humanitaria en categorías que no tienen ningún sentido para las poblaciones; en lugar de dividir con las palabras o competir por fondos, es tiempo de construir los puentes indispensables para decir a todos los colombianos que están cansados de sufrir, que no se preocupen, que vamos a trabajar de forma coordinada para que no tengan más hambre o miedo y para que tengan esperanza para su futuro.

Porqué, para la población afectada por una crisis, los mitos no cuentan: es la realidad de los hechos lo que puede hacer la diferencia.

India: World - Severe weather events - ECHO Daily Map | 23/09/2016

Nepal - Maps - 15 hours 54 min ago
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Bermuda, China, Guam, India, Nepal, Turkey

BERMUDA – TC KARL

• TC KARL continued moving north-west over the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, strengthening. On 23 September at 9.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 486 km southsoutheast of Bermuda island and it had max. sustained wind speed of 93 km/h (Tropical Storm).

• Over the next 48 h it is forecast to continue moving northwest with a slight turn to north, strengthening. Its centre may pass near or to the east of Bermuda on 24 September. As of 23 September, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the island of Bermuda.

Sources: GDACS, NOAA, BWS, Local media

TURKEY

• Heavy rain has been affecting the Black Sea region over the past few days causing floods and landslides.

• National authorities, as of 23 September, report three people killed in Besikduzu (Trabzon), 451 buildings damaged as well as power outages and traffic throughout the provinces of Trabzon and Giresun. AFAD coordinates response and damage assessment works in the Black Sea region.

Sources: AFAD, Turkish State Meteorological Service, WMO, Local Media

NEPAL

• Severe weather affected Gorkha District on 22 September causing landslides.

• According to local media, as of 23 September early morning (UTC), four people were killed and six were injured in Kerauja village (Gorkha District, Pashchimanchal province).

Sources: MFD, Local Media

INDIA

• Heavy rain continued to affect several parts of the country, causing more floods.

• According to local media, as of 23 September, the death toll has reached to 24 people in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. They also reported that six people have been injured, 7 000 have been evacuated in Guntur city (Guntur district) and traffic has been disrupted in Andhra Pradesh State.

• As of 23 September, a Red Warning for heavy to locally very heavy rain is in effect for the state of Telangana and Goa. As of the same date, an Orange Warning for heavy to locally very heavy rain for the states of Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada.

Sources: IMD, WMO, Governmental, Local media

GUAM, CHINA – TC MEGI

• TC MEGI formed over the north-western Pacific Ocean, approximately 600 km north west of Guam, on 23 September. On 23 September at 6.00 UTC its centre was located 800 km north-west of Guam, and had maximum sustained wind speed of 65 km/h (Tropical Storm).

• Over the next 72 hours, it is forecast to continue moving north-west with a slight turn to west-northwest over the north-western Pacific Ocean, strengthening.

Sources: GDACS, JTWC, Guam NOAA.

Colombia: Colombia to sign historic peace deal

Colombia - Chad - 16 hours 57 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia

Bogota, Colombia | AFP | Saturday 9/24/2016 - 08:15 GMT

by Florence PANOUSSIAN

Colombia will turn the page on a half-century conflict that has stained its modern history with blood when the FARC rebels and the government sign a peace deal on Monday.

President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londono -- better known by his nom de guerre, Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez -- are set to sign the accord at 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) in a ceremony in the colorful colonial city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.

It will be preceded by a tribute to the Colombian military and police, presided over by Santos, and a prayer for peace and reconciliation at an 18th century Catholic church in Cartagena's old town.

The guests will include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and a cortege of Latin American leaders -- notably Cuban President Raul Castro, whose country hosted the nearly four-year-long peace talks that produced a final deal on August 24.

The 2,500 expected attendees have been invited to wear white.

The ceremony is the second-to-last step in ratifying the peace deal.

Colombians will vote on it in a referendum on October 2. Recent polls show the "Yes" camp in the lead.

- 'New chapter' -

The FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group, launched its war on the Colombian government in 1964, in the aftermath of a peasant uprising that was brutally put down by the army.

Over the decades, the conflict has drawn in several leftist rebel groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs, leaving a legacy of death and destruction: more than 260,000 people killed, 45,000 missing and 6.9 million forced to flee their homes.

"We are turning the page on the war to begin writing a new chapter of peace," Santos said Wednesday in an address to the United Nations after submitting the 297-page accord to the Security Council wrapped in the yellow, blue and red of the Colombian flag.

FARC delegates unanimously ratified the deal Friday at a national conference in El Diamante, a remote and sweltering site deep in the rebels' traditional stronghold in southeastern Colombia.

"The war is over," declared their chief peace negotiator, Ivan Marquez, to a burst of applause and cheers from rebel delegates dressed in civilian clothes.

If all goes according to plan, it will be the FARC's last meeting as a guerrilla army. Under the deal, the group is now to relaunch as a political party.

- Fourth bid for peace -

The rebels came to the negotiating table after being weakened by a major army offensive led by then-defense minister Santos, who served in the post from 2006 to 2009 before becoming president.

After an army raid killed the previous FARC leader, Alfonso Cano, in 2011, Timochenko, his successor, wrote to Santos proposing fresh peace talks -- the fourth such effort, following failed attempts in 1984, 1991 and 1999.

The talks opened in Cuba in November 2012.

Working through a six-point agenda one item at a time, delegates concluded the final accord on August 24.

The deal covers justice and reparations for victims of the conflict, land reform, the FARC's relaunch as a political party, disarmament, fighting the drug trafficking that has fueled violence in the world's largest cocaine-producing country, as well as implementing and monitoring the accord.

It also grants an amnesty for "political crimes" committed during the conflict, although not for the worst atrocities, such as massacres, torture and rape.

Those responsible for such crimes will face up to 20 years in prison, with lighter sentences if they confess.

FARC fighters have vowed to now leave their mountain and jungle hideouts and hand in their weapons in a UN-supervised process.

The government has not yet opened peace talks with a smaller guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

fpp/jhb/grf

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Colombia: FARC ratifies Colombia peace deal, declares war over

Colombia - Chad - 23 September 2016 - 2:42pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia

El Diamante, Colombia | AFP | Friday 9/23/2016 - 22:40 GMT

by Alina DIESTE

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia declared the end of its 52-year war Friday as it ratified a historic peace deal with the government.

To a burst of applause and cheers, the FARC's chief peace negotiator announced the guerrillas had unanimously backed the agreement at a national conference.

"The war is over," said Ivan Marquez, flanked by top FARC commanders, all dressed in civilian clothes and sitting at an impromptu conference table draped with Colombia's yellow, blue and red flag.

"The guerrillas... have given their unanimous backing to the final accord," he said, on the sixth and last day of the meeting in El Diamante, a remote and sweltering site deep in the rebels' traditional stronghold in southeastern Colombia.

If all goes according to plan, it will be the FARC's last meeting as a guerrilla army. Under the deal, the group is now to relaunch as a political party.

Marquez, who led the FARC delegation at nearly four years of peace talks in Cuba, added a reference to one of Colombia's most famous sons, the Nobel prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"Tell Mauricio Babilonia he can release the yellow butterflies," he said, an allusion to a character in the master of magical realism's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" who is so love-struck that a cloud of yellow butterflies follows him wherever he goes.

President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono -- better known by his nom de guerre, Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez -- will now sign the accord Monday in the Caribbean coast city of Cartagena.

Colombians will then vote on it in a referendum on October 2. Recent polls show the "Yes" camp ahead.

  • New world of politics

The FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group, launched its war on the Colombian government in 1964, in the aftermath of a brutally repressed peasant uprising.

Such guerrilla armies were common across Latin America in the latter half of the 20th century. But now, 25 years after the Cold War, Colombia's is the last major armed conflict in the Americas.

Over the decades, it has drawn in several leftist rebel groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs, killing 260,000 people, leaving 45,000 missing and forcing 6.9 million to flee their homes.

The FARC today has an estimated 7,500 fighters.

Some 350 commanders and delegates representing the group's rank and file were present at the conference.

The FARC is now expected to announce details on its new life as a political party, including a new name.

"We're going to come out into the world of open politics. The main challenge will be achieving a political platform that brings together the diverse segments of Colombian society," FARC commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told AFP.

Timochenko is expected to keep his role as leader of whatever organization emerges to replace the FARC.

  • Hawks to doves

The rebels came to the negotiating table after being weakened by a major army offensive led by then-defense minister Santos, who served in the post from 2006 to 2009 before becoming president.

After an army raid killed the previous FARC leader, Alfonso Cano, in 2011, Timochenko, his successor, wrote to Santos proposing fresh peace talks -- the fourth such effort.

They opened in Cuba in November 2012.

Working through a six-point agenda one item at a time, delegates concluded a final, 297-page accord on August 24.

The deal covers justice and reparations for victims of the conflict; land reform; the FARC's relaunch as a political party; disarmament; fighting the drug trafficking that has fueled violence in the world's largest cocaine-producing country; and implementing and monitoring the accord.

It also grants an amnesty for "political crimes" committed during the conflict, although not the worst atrocities such as massacres, torture and rape.

Those responsible for such crimes will face up to 20 years in prison, with lighter sentences if they confess.

FARC fighters have vowed to now leave their mountain and jungle hideouts and hand in their weapons in a UN-supervised process.

The government's efforts to open peace talks with a smaller guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), have not yet borne fruit.

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© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Colombia: FARC rebels 'unanimously back' Colombia peace deal

Colombia - Chad - 23 September 2016 - 2:42pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia

El Diamante, Colombia | AFP | Friday 9/23/2016 - 18:29 GMT

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) gave their unanimous backing Friday to a historic peace deal with the government to end their 52-year conflict, their chief peace negotiator said.

"The war is over," said Ivan Marquez at a national conference of the FARC to vote on the deal and relaunch the group as a political party.

"The guerrillas... have given their unanimous backing to the final accord," he said.

Marquez, who led the FARC's delegation at nearly four years of peace talks in Cuba, added a reference to one of Colombia's most famous sons, the Nobel prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"Tell Mauricio Babilonia he can release the yellow butterflies," he said, a reference to a character in the master of magical realism's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" who is so love-struck that a cloud of yellow butterflies follows him wherever he goes.

President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono -- better known by his nom de guerre, Timoleon "Timochenko" Jimenez -- will now sign the accord Monday in the Caribbean coast city of Cartagena.

The FARC, a Marxist guerrilla group, launched its war on the Colombian government in 1964, in the aftermath of a brutally repressed peasant uprising.

Over the decades, the conflict has drawn in several leftist rebel groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug gangs, leaving a legacy of death and destruction: more than 260,000 people killed, 45,000 missing and 6.9 million forced to flee their homes.

The FARC is also due to announce details on its new life as a political party as its conference wraps up Friday in El Diamante, a remote site deep in its traditional stronghold in southeastern Colombia.

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© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Yemen: Yemen Crisis Response: Movements and Arrival Assistance (As of 31 August 2016)

Yemen - Maps - 23 September 2016 - 11:29am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Yemen: Yemen Crisis Response: Movements and Arrival Assistance (As of 31 August 2016)

Sudan - Maps - 23 September 2016 - 11:29am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Yemen: Yemen Crisis Response: Movements and Arrival Assistance (As of 31 August 2016)

Somalia - Maps - 23 September 2016 - 11:29am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

Yemen: Yemen Crisis Response: Movements and Arrival Assistance (As of 31 August 2016)

Ethiopia - Maps - 23 September 2016 - 11:29am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

World: Epidemiological Update Zika virus infection 22 September 2016

Colombia - Chad - 23 September 2016 - 1:55am
Source: World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization Country: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana (France), Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique (France), Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World
Zika virus – Incidence and trends

To date, 47 countries and territories in the Americas have confirmed autochthonous, vectorborne transmission of Zika virus disease since 2015. In addition, five countries in the Americas have reported sexually transmitted Zika cases. Since the last Zika Epidemiological Update of 8 September 2016, Saint Kitts and Nevis has confirmed vector-borne autochthonous transmission of Zika virus.

Highlighted below is a summary of the Zika epidemiological situation by sub-regions of the Americas.

North America

From the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico up to epidemiological weeks (EW) 34 there was an increasing trend of confirmed Zika cases, with a decreasing trend of cases in the last three weeks, (EW 34 to 36). The trend will have to be monitored to see if the decrease continues in the coming weeks.

In the United States of America, the area of Zika transmission continues to expand with three counties in the state of Florida reporting autochthonous cases of Zika virus infection: MiamiDade,
Palm Beach, and Pinellas.

Central America

In Central America, an increasing trend of cases has been observed over the last four weeks in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

Costa Rica continues to have an increasing trend in cases since the beginning of the outbreak up to EW 32, although in the preceding two weeks (EW 33 and 34) a decrease has been reported; it remains to be seen if this trend will continue.

In Guatemala, following a downward trend that began on EW 23, the reported cases increased again in EW 32.

In Nicaragua, the number of reported cases has mostly been on the rise since the beginning of the outbreak.

In Panama, following a sharp decrease in cases since EW 23, an increase in cases has been observed as of EW 30.

The greatest increase in Zika cases in Central America occurred between late 2015 and early 2016.

Caribbean

In the past four weeks Saint Martin, the French overseas territory, reported an increasing trend in cases after the decrease observed up to EW 32.

Puerto Rico reflects a declining trend of Zika cases in the past three weeks, (EW 33 to EW 35), following the increase in number of cases observed since the beginning of the outbreak.

However, the trend should be monitored over the following weeks to confirm if the declining trend continues in these countries/territories.

Other countries/territories in the Caribbean also show a declining trend of Zika cases.

South America

In South America, all countries are reporting decreasing numbers of Zika cases.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia: WASH Cluster Priority Intervention Woredas, July 2016

Ethiopia - Maps - 23 September 2016 - 1:09am
Source: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster Country: Ethiopia

World: The “Violence Turn” in Peace Studies and Practice

Colombia - Chad - 22 September 2016 - 3:48pm
Source: Berghof Foundation Country: Colombia, World

Jenny Pearce

Introduction

Introduction Bernardo Arévalo de León and Ana Glenda Tager have written a succinct and substantive article, which adds to evidence of a shif from the centrality of war and conflict (armed and non-armed) in the study and practice of peace, towards a focus on violence, or rather that aspect of violence the authors call “armed social violence”. Violence, I argue, is the opposite of peace and this step towards recognising the wider expressions of violence is to be greatly welcomed. Violence is extensively studied, but in disciplinary silos. We lack a “converter” to enable us to interpret the learning from these various silos and to help us build new understandings of the varied mechanisms of violence reproduction and reduction. Despite nods to interdisciplinarity, academia reinforces the silos, while practice cannot easily embrace the complexity within and between each.

In my response to the lead article, I will follow its structure, initially by addressing the conceptual issue of why violence is best placed at the heart of peace thinking and peacebuilding and secondly, why this is so difcult to operationalise. In response to the conceptual challenges, I will argue that we need to build much greater sensitivity to the plurality of violences (see Box 1) and the feedback loops between them. Peace processes do not end violence, as the experiences of Guatemala and El Salvador illustrate (Pearce 2016). While the scale of collective and organised violence remains an urgent preoccupation, I argue that we also need to trace the way violence, as a phenomenon with multiple expressions, reproduces through time and space. Thus, while I applaud the widening of the feld of peacebuilding to acknowledge the signifcance of armed social and criminal forms, this still limits our approach to violence. I argue that we need to understand violence as a phenomenon with its own distinctions and multiple expressions. Violence is not always armed. Operationalising the “violence turn” involves enhancing sensitivity to multiple violences in order to avoid reducing peacebuilding to an expanded but still restricted focus on selected expressions of violence which are categorised as either (armed) political or (armed) non-political. The dichotomy between social and political violence can be exaggerated, as acknowledged in the article, and this has implications for how we frame the phenomenon of violence. We need to understand why violence remains such a potent “language” or medium of communication in social and political realms. Violence reduction is a prolonged process which requires a multiplicity of actions across all the spaces of socialisation – from the intimate to the community as well as to the construction of the nation state itself (Pearce 2005). The connections between these are neither self-evident nor inevitable. When violence takes collective forms, its dangers will obviously multiply. However, our willingness to use violence in such forms does not spring from nowhere. Understanding violence as a phenomenon with its own distinctions is a critical task alongside the urgent efforts to deal with its everyday manifestations. This also has implications for building forms of security that do not produce more violence. Peacebuilding can delimit and prioritise its tasks, it will be argued, while remaining alert to the way violences reproduce and mutate in everyday lives, particularly in those of the poorest, as well as differentially across the domains of gender, generation and sexuality

Colombia: Mecanismos de autoprotección: Comunidades rurales y defensores de derechos humanos en Colombia

Colombia - Chad - 22 September 2016 - 12:45pm
Source: ABColombia Country: Colombia

Resumen Ejecutivo

Para los defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos (DDH) y las comunidades rurales los riesgos aumentan considerablemente cuando sus derechos territoriales están asociados a intereses económicos como, por ejemplo, el caso de la agricultura y de la industria minera (en particular, la minería y la explotación de petróleo) a gran escala.

La situación de los defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos colombianos ha sido, durante muchos años, una de las peores del mundo. Desde el inicio oficial de las negociaciones de paz de La Habana (octubre de 2012) entre el Gobierno colombiano y el grupo guerrillero de izquierda, las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército de Pueblo (FARC-EP), el número de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos (DDH) asesinados anualmente ha aumentado año tras año, manteniéndose como el más alto del mundo durante el 2015. Los defensores y defensoras más atacados estuvieron trabajando por las víctimas, la tierra y el medioambiente; recientemente, han aumentado los ataques contra aquellos involucrados en el activismo por la paz y el liderazgo político.

Los DDH rurales han sufrido asesinatos y ataques desproporcionadamente. La organización no gubernamental (ONG) Somos Defensores informó que en los últimos cinco años, hasta fines de 2015, la categoría de defensores más frecuentemente asesinados ha sido la de los Pueblos Indígenas. La situación de las defensoras también se ha deteriorado, con un aumento del 160 por ciento en los ataques contra las mujeres defensoras, de 2013 a 2014. De acuerdo con la evidencia documentada, los principales responsables del 66 por ciento de los ataques y homicidios contra defensores y defensoras rurales en 2015 han sido los grupos paramilitares de derecha postdesmovilización (GPPD).
En contraste, el número de defensores y defensoras atacados por grupos guerrilleros de izquierda es extremadamente pequeño, menos del uno por ciento en 2015. Por lo tanto la firma del Acuerdo de Paz con las FARC no garantizará la disminución de los ataques contra DDH.

Un elemento clave para crear un entorno más seguro y propicio para los y las DDH, es enfrentar la impunidad. Y para ello los y las DDH han solicitado, en repetidas ocasiones, que el Gobierno de Colombia ponga en marcha mecanismos especiales. Uno de los acuerdos realizados en La Habana está diseñado para hacer frente a la impunidad asociada con ataques a DDH y líderes políticos, lo que implica una serie de mecanismos reunidos bajo el tema de las ‘Garantías de Seguridad’. Éstos están dirigidos a desmantelar las estructuras económicas y políticas detrás de los GPPD y forman parte de los Acuerdos de La Habana, por lo que su eficacia sólo puede ser juzgada una vez una vez estos sean implementados. Estos mecanismos, serán discutidos en mayor detalle en el presente informe, resaltando que a la vez que ofrecen motivos para la esperanza, esta esperanza debe ser realista frente a la negativa reputación de Colombia en la aplicación de políticas y en su fracaso para poner fin a la impunidad en el caso de violaciones de derechos humanos.

Con el fin de protegerse de la violencia generada por todos los actores armados del conflicto, los y las DDH y las comunidades rurales han desarrollado una serie de medidas de autoprotección.
Estos mecanismos son esenciales no sólo debido a la falta de cumplimiento por parte del Estado de la obligación de proteger sus derechos, sino también debido a que las Fuerzas de Seguridad estatales están implicadas en las atrocidades cometidas contra las comunidades y en los ataques contra los y las DDH.
LaOficina del Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos de la ONU en Bogotá (ONU-OACDH) resaltó que, a pesar de que el accionar de las Fuerzas de Seguridad estatales puede estar cambiando en las zonas urbanas, sigue siendo la misma en las zonas rurales, donde la ‘construcción de la contra-insurgencia’ sigue señalando como ‘el enemigo’ a los y las DDH y a las comunidades dedicadas a la resistencia pacífica, generándoles graves riesgos.

Para los y las DDH y las comunidades rurales los riesgos aumentan considerablemente cuando sus derechos territoriales están asociados a intereses económicos dentro de su territorio como, por ejemplo, el caso de la agricultura y de la industria minera (en particular, la minería y la explotación de petróleo) a gran escala. Como resultado, la mayoría de los modelos de autoprotección desarrollados por las comunidades en áreas rurales incorporan al individuo, la comunidad y su territorio. Para los defensores rurales y, en particular, los grupos minoritarios, la integridad cultural es fundamental para su bienestar y seguridad. Por lo tanto, los mecanismos de autoprotección no sólo se refieren a la protección física, sino también a la seguridad relacionada a la permanencia en su territorio, que implica: seguridad política, económica y del medio ambiente, así como bienestar psicosocial, espiritual y cultural. Las amenazas a la seguridad de estas comunidades no sólo se asocian con los actores armados, sino que también incluyen la contaminación del medio ambiente, la destrucción del territorio y la pérdida de la tierra.

Los mecanismos de autoprotección utilizados por los y las DDH y las comunidades rurales, han sido eficaces durante todo el conflicto. Quienes han desarrollado y usado estos mecanismos mantienen una valiosa experiencia en la construcción de paz, ya que todos los modelos de autoprotección fueron diseñados para neutralizar la violencia utilizando métodos no violentos.
Estos modelos también promueven el estado de derecho, insistiendo en que funciona cuando los derechos humanos están protegidos. Además, los DDH rurales, promueven la organización de la comunidad y proporcionan habilidades técnicas y conocimientos necesarios para equilibrar la desigualdad de poder y facilitar el diálogo con el Estado y las empresas. Todo esto constituye una experiencia muy valiosa en la construcción de paz. Por lo tanto es esencial que la comunidad internacional y el Estado colombiano apoyen a los DDH y las comunidades rurales en la utilización de esa experiencia.

La información contenida en este informe viene de entrevistas y conversaciones con los socios locales de los miembros de ABColombia, así como de otras ONG colombianas y algunas organizaciones intergubernamentales que trabajan sobre el terreno, en Colombia. Los modelos de autoprotección presentados en este informe son los que los socios de los miembros de ABColombia han desarrollado y se centran en su mayor parte en las zonas rurales, pero no son una lista exhaustiva de todos los mecanismos de autoprotección utilizados en Colombia.

Colombia: Self-protection Mechanisms: Colombian Rural Defenders and Communities

Colombia - Chad - 22 September 2016 - 12:29pm
Source: ABColombia Country: Colombia

Human rights defenders and community leaders killed at unprecedented rate in Colombia, warns human rights group

On 26 September 2016 Colombia will officially sign a Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC guerrilla group, but a new report by human rights group ABColombia says those crucial to building peace are being killed at an alarming rate.

“We are extremely concerned that since the start of the peace talks in October 2012, the number of human rights defenders killed in Colombia has risen year-on-year. In the last month alone, 13 human rights defenders and community leaders have been killed,” said Louise Winstanley, ABColombia’s Programme and Advocacy Manager.

“We welcome the peace agreement in Colombia, but the FARC is merely the most well-known of several illegal armed groups and it is essential that the Colombian Government and the second largest guerrilla group - the National Liberation Army (ELN) - arrive at a peace deal”.

“73 per cent of violence towards community leaders and human rights defenders has been carried out by paramilitaries and Colombian Security Forces” added Louise Winstanley.

Colombia is one of the deadliest places in the world to be a human rights defender, with indigenous leaders being killed in the highest numbers.

The report - ‘Self-protection mechanisms: Colombian rural defenders and communities’ - says that Colombia must end the almost total impunity for these crimes. It calls on the Colombian Government to dismantle the political and economic structures supporting right-wing paramilitary groups and their links with the Colombian Security Forces.

It also says the survival of community leaders and human rights defenders is essential to enable their participation as peace-makers in a country where serious human rights violations have taken place, with over 45,000 people disappeared and 6.9 million forcibly displaced.

ABColombia, a partner of UK aid agency CAFOD, highlights in its report how rural human rights defenders and communities have developed their own range of self-protection mechanisms in response to the Colombian Government’s failure to effectively protect them. These mechanisms use non-violent methods to reduce the risks of violence. One of these is the Guardia Indígena, an unarmed community police used by the Zenú Indigenous Peoples to protect community members so they can continue to assert their rights.

The Catholic Church has played a vital role as a peace-maker in Colombia. Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, Director of Caritas Colombia, said:

“We celebrate with great joy the agreement ending the armed confrontation between the Colombian Government and the FARC. It is the first fundamental step towards building lasting peace, which will require strong government commitment and full participation and attentive civil society.”

“We have accompanied rural communities and human rights defenders closely on this long and painful path and will continue to support peace-building processes to ensure that the atrocities of the past are not repeated, that reconciliation is a reality, and human dignity of all those involved in the conflict is restored.”

After the peace agreement is officially signed it must then be approved by Colombians in a referendum vote which will take place on 2 October 2016.

World: Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Situation Report, 22 September 2016

Colombia - Chad - 22 September 2016 - 11:28am
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island (Chile), Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique (France), Mexico, Netherlands, New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World

KEY UPDATES

 Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past week:
o Saint Kitts and Nevis

 Countries in the Western Pacific Region continue to report new cases as seen in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Viet Nam. Thailand, in the South-East Asia Region, has also recently reported Zika cases. It is not clear whether the apparent recent increase in the number of reported Zika cases is due to an actual increase in incidence or whether this is the result of enhanced surveillance, testing or awareness.

 The sequencing results from two Zika virus cases reported in Malaysia indicate that both are from the “Asian” lineage but are from slightly different strains. The first imported case is similar to the virus that was circulating in French Polynesia in 2013, i.e., a post-2007 “Asian” strain. The second locally acquired case is reported to be a similar to a previously circulating Southeast Asian strain of the “Asian” lineage.

 Further sequencing analysis in Singapore indicates that in addition to the locallyacquired cases which were caused by viruses from older strains of the “Asian” lineage, an imported case with travel history to Brazil was found to be caused by a virus similar to the strain of the “Asian” lineage currently circulating in the Americas.

 Countries and territories reporting microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:
o Guatemala

 Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:
o Ecuador

 The 2016 Summer Paralympic Games closed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 18 September. WHO assesses the individual risk of Zika virus infection in travellers returning from the Paralympic Games as low, albeit not zero. To date, WHO has not received any official notification of Zika cases associated with this event. In accordance with WHO guidance, men and women returning should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least six months upon return and apply insect repellent for at least three weeks upon return to reduce the risk of onward transmission

Colombia: Rural Growth in Colombia: Yara Steps In to Increase Productivity

Colombia - Chad - 22 September 2016 - 11:02am
Source: Inter Press Service Country: Colombia

By Dominique Von Rohr

ROME, Sep 22 2016 (IPS) - Following the recent peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC in Cartagena which concludes a 52-year armed conflict, the country is now geared toward improving productivity in its agricultural sector. Yara International, a leader in crop nutrition and farmer support, has taken the timely step of supporting the government’s efforts on this issue.

Colombia, which relies on agriculture as the most important segment of its economy, still battles with an endemic problem of poor productivity. Due to the rugged Andean terrain covering Colombia, as well as the lack of irrigation, only roughly five per cent of the country’s land area is cultivated. The government is taking an increasing part in controlling, organizing and encouraging agriculture by giving financial support and social assistance for better housing to farmers, as well as providing them with technical help. However, foreign aid is always welcome.

The timely intervention of Yara International is contributing to enable Colombia in producing more and better food on existing agricultural land. Having invested in Colombia for years and providing funds of USD 425 million in 2014, Yara International has become the largest investor in the South American country, supporting rural development, growing productivity and prosperity in Colombia’s countryside.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia: WASH Cluster Response Coverage in Flood Affected Areas (March - August 2016)

Ethiopia - Maps - 22 September 2016 - 8:16am
Source: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster Country: Ethiopia

Pakistan: Pakistan: KP and FATA - Areas of Displacement, Hosting and Returns (as of 31 August 2016)

Pakistan - Maps - 22 September 2016 - 7:56am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Pakistan

Iraq: Iraq: Ninewa Governorate Reference Map (as of July 2016)

Iraq - Maps - 22 September 2016 - 6:35am
Source: REACH Initiative Country: Iraq
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