septiembre 2018

More than four hundred social leaders in Colombia have been killed in the last two years in the context of peacebuilding, however, the dream of peace is standing on the shoulders of giants.

By Jorge Andres Forero-Gonzalez*

With more than ten million internal and external people displaced in the last thirty years (1), three hundred thousand deaths, and the forced migration from rural to urban society, it is mandatory to understand that life is sacred in Colombia. The peace process brings hope and the possibility to end the war in the western hemisphere by looking for one real solution for global problems such as drug trafficking. But, there are big risks and potentially bad effects in the implementation process, like the killing of social leaders, the slow process of implementation or the new, conservative government.(2)

However, in the war-torn (or, war-affected) territories, the communities developed inspiring strategies to fight against the murder (or extrajudicial killing) and create collective alternatives of peace to live in their lands. There is the case of the important initiatives of the communities in the country like the Humanitarian Zones and Peace Communities in Chocó and Urabá. In addition, the Indigenous Resguardos (Reservations) (3) and Collective Territories of Black Communities(4), are known in the country as special peace territories symbol. These communities that suffered during the war are the same communities that support the peace treaty and give hope to Colombia and the world(5).

The Peace Agreement of Colombia offers is a big opportunity to address solutions for the structural social and political problems of Colombia.(6) This agreement has 6 points: 1. Integral Rural Reform to create institutions and infrastructure in rural areas where the war took place. 2. Political Participation to open democratic processes that avoid violent solutions. For example, as a product of the agreement the FARC is now a Political Party 3. End of the Conflict, to recuperate more than 20,000 weapons that will be destroyed by the United Nations, took to the ex-guerrilla members for opportunities. 4. Solution to the Drug Problem, the more important point is to find a solution to the global problem, which will reduce demand for cocaine from Colombia. 5. Victims and System of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of No repetition to create scenarios of reconciliation and 6. Implementation, Verification, and International Monitoring to be sure that is possible to comply with the agreement.

In terms of the process of implementation of the Peace Agreement that includes special economic programs for the returning of the communities for their territories especially in the points 1 and 5; in Colombia, we do not start without any experiences. One example of how the communities returned to their homes after (or during) the war is the inspiring cases of Humanitarian Zones(7) and Biodiversity Zones(8). These experiences provide many examples of how to build alternatives from the communities to build peace in times of war and are based in the right to the people to live in their territories using the own government in the case of the Indigenous Peoples and Black Communities in Colombia, and the international human rights agreements. . 

The Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, according to Peace Brigades International (2011), are defined as:

A community initiative to continue to resist in the territory despite the onslaught of the armed conflict. In order to achieve this objective, the members demarcate and make visible the areas they inhabit and prohibit the entrance of any armed actor, whether it be legal or illegal. These zones are based on the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and represent a protection tool for the civilian population living in the midst of the armed conflict. (...) They are also supported through national legislation, including Article 22 of the Colombian Constitution, establishes that "peace is a right". The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has supported the establishment of Humanitarian Zones as a "positive mechanism for protecting the civilian population from actions perpetrated by the different armed actors in the region." Biodiversity Zones have also been established to protect the environment and life.(9)

In contrast, the new conservative government of Colombia that will start in August of 2018 holds a strong position against the Peace Agreement between FARC and the State of Colombia.. This position is explained by the links between the war, the drugs trafficking and the ultra-right position of the ex-president (2002-2010) and the current Senator of Colombia Alvaro Uribe Velez (10). According to newly declassified cables from the State Department of USA the former Colombian Leader Uribe and godfather of the new president, is tied to drug traffickers. (11) In this context, the links are clear between the current administration and the internal armed conflict. This connection the Duque’s position against the implementation of Peace Processes, especially Point 5 of the agreement which calls for investigation and sanctioning of crimes by of all the actors in the war. 

In this context, why is there reason to hope? Initiatives like the Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones have been working in the more radical context of the war in Colombia at the times of Alvaro Uribe Velez, that included a military doctrine that according to recent research(12), includes “approximately 10,000 civilians were executed by the army between 2002 and 2010 – more than three times the number tallied by human rights groups.” (13) In addition to thinking about the Indigenous Resguardos, which in Colombia are more the 30% of our territory especially at the Amazons, it is important to think about their more than five hundred years of resistance as a symbol of autonomy. Moreover, the Collective Territories of Black Communities, 10% of our country especially in the Pacific areas, is a memory of fighting for liberty and independence in Colombia for more than four hundred years. 

In conclusion, how does one begin to look for conditions to return to the land in the current Peace Agreement? 

First, it is true that with the new government of Colombia creates a difficult environment for the processes of peacebuilding, especially with the current killing of the social leaders and human rights defenders (14). However, if the government of Colombia rends the monopoly of weapons and justice, and gives real guarantees to social leaders and an the communities to return to the land, is possible to build a powerful peacebuilding institutions and infrastructure. 

Second, this infrastructure must be a negotiation and agreement process involving all social actors in Colombia, recover experiences like the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, establishing trust with a society that wants a second opportunity for peace. It is especially important that the new institutions support peacebuilding initiatives of the communities creating real scenarios of reconciliation.

And tree, After sixty years of military conflict, the conditions to return to rural regions of Colombia requires the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement, including mediation between the communities and the new government that does not support the process. 

“Al pueblo lo que es del pueblo.”

“Rompamos las cadenas a través de la unidad.”

"To the people what is for the people."

"Break the chains through unity."

In memory of Ibes Trujillo, Black Leader of CONAFRO and CENPAZ (15)

Ibes was killed in July of 2018

* Jorge Andrés Forero-González is from Colombia and, has studied economics and political science at the National University of Colombia and the University of the Andes. He is working with indigenous peoples, the Afro-Colombian community in CENPAZ, and agricultural communities in establishing processes for implementing the peace agreement. Right now is a Fulbright Fellow in USA in the Hubert H. Humphrey Program 2018 – 2019.

** Thanks J. Wren Supak for your help in the the final edition and your recommendations. J Wren Supak is a researcher in the intersection of art in conflict, and post-conflict justice as a Human Rights research fellow of the University of Minnesota, USA.

*** Thanks professor Josh Rosenberg of ELI of the University of Montana, USA, for your questions, and recommendations to write this article.

**** Foto: Congress of Mujeres Indigenas CONPI 2016


(1) “According to the UN Refugee Agency, 13.9 million people were forced from their homes in 2014 alone, and 11 million of them were internally displaced. In 2016, the most recent UN figures, a total of 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide—making 8 out of every 1,000 inhabitants of earth a displaced person. Since the 1980s, Colombia has been home to nearly 6 million internally displaced people, ranking near the highest globally per capita”.Andrea Ruggeri, "Democracy and Displacement in Colombia’s Civil War. By Abbey Steele," The Journal of Politics 80, no. 3 (July 2018): e61-e62

(2) See my other article: Risks in the Peace Building Process in Colombia and Challenges to the new Government. Available in:

(3) See for example the work of the Resguardo Sat Tama Kiwe in Caldono Cauca and the position of CONPI and CENPAZ, available in

(4)PROPUESTA,“GUARDIA CIMARRONA: justicia, seguridad y protección desde la autonomía del Pueblo Negro”

(5) See in maps the relationship between the army conflict and the results of the last Peace Referendum and Presidential Elections where is clear that the communities that support the peace are the victims. Available in

(6) See: Final Agreement to end the armed conflict and build a stable and lasting Peace. Available in:

(7) Zonas Humanitarias y Zonas de Biodiversidad: Espacios de dignidad para la población desplazada en Colombia


(9) Returning to their land: Establishing humanitarian zones and biodiversity zones

(10) In July the new said “Facing Investigation, Ex-President Uribe Resigns From Senate in Colombia” However after one week of the announcement Uribe decided don’t be official the resigns.

(11) Cables Contain Claims Former Colombian Leader (Alvaro Uribe Velez) Is Tied to Drug Traffickers

(12) Book: Ejecuciones extrajudiciales en Colombia 2002-2010: Obediencia ciega en campos de batalla ficticios/ Ornar Eduardo Rojas Bolaños y Fabián Leonardo Benavides Silva, Bogotá: Universidad Santo Tomás, 2017. Available in

(13) “Colombian army killed thousands more civilians than reported, study claims” Disponible in

(14) See Documentary “Nos Estan Matando” With Hector Carabali National Speaker CONAFRO, CENPAZ and Victims. Director Emily Wright / Tom Laffay CC in English Available in

(15) Comunicado en esperanza y solidaridad por la Paz en Colombia ante el asesinato de Ibes Trujillo, líder de la Coordinación Nacional de Organizaciones y Comunidades Afrodesendientes CONAFRO

Primer encuentro entre Jean Arnault y Los integrantes de la instancia Especial de Pueblos Etnicos para una apertura de relación y construcción de agenda conjunta para trabajar en la implementación, seguimiento y verificación del Acuerdo de Paz. Agosto 2018
Explican Luz Mery Panche Chocue CONPI Coordinacion Nacional de Pueblos Indigenas y Rodrigo Castillo CONPAZ Comunidades Haciendo Paz en los Territorios
Vocer@s Instancia Especial de Alto Nivel de Pueblos Etnico por CENPAZ

En el marco de la Semana por la Paz, La Universidad Javeriana con su Maestría en estudios de Paz y Resolución de Conflictos realizó el panel con Lideres y Lideresas que se encuentran en los Territorios Construyendo Paz. Desde la Plataforma CENPAZ fueron invitados Luz Mery Panche y Hèctor Carabalì

Diálogo en clave de balance sobre el proceso de construcción del Plan de Acción en Derechos Humanos: logros, retos y oportunidades entre el Consejero Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos y diversos sectores y actores de la sociedad civil y comunidad internacional.

El Capítulo Étnico del Acuerdo Final de paz, numeral 6.2 del Acuerdo, creó la Instancia Especial de Alto Nivel con Pueblos Étnicos para el seguimiento de la implementación de los acuerdos - IEANPE. Dice el capítulo étnico: “La instancia tendrá las funciones de actuar como consultora, representante e interlocutora de primer orden de la Comisión de Seguimiento, Impulso y Verificación a la Implementación del Acuerdo Final (CSIVI)”. (English Version Below)

El 15 de marzo de 2017 mediante el comunicado conjunto número 13, se formalizó ante la CSIVI la Instancia y se eligieron 8 vocerías nacionales de las organizaciones que fueron gestoras y acompañantes en la construcción del Capítulo Étnico, que hoy convergen en la Comisión Étnica para la Defensa de los Derechos Territoriales y en la Coordinación Étnica Nacional de Paz - CENPAZ.
Desde la formalización de la IEANPE, el Estado Colombiano se comprometió en la facilitación y financiación para dar cumplimiento a sus mandatos, entre ellos acompañar los procesos nacionales y territoriales en la implementación del Acuerdo y crear las condiciones para un pleno desarrollo del Acuerdo Final de Paz en los territorios indígenas y afrocolombianos más afectados por la guerra.

En el segundo semestre de 2017, a partir de la presión de las organizaciones de la IEANPE, de otras organizaciones nacionales e internacionales responsables de la implementación y del monitoreo del Acuerdo, se logró concertar en un trabajo arduo y responsable técnicamente, el Plan Marco de Implementación entre la IEANPE y el Estado colombiano. De este trabajo de la IEANPE ampliada a las perspectivas de otras instancias de los pueblos étnicos incluyendo a la Mesa Permanente de Concertación con Pueblos Indígenas y el Pueblo Rrom Gitano, concluyó en un capítulo especial del Plan Marco de Implementación con claros objetivos, metas, programas planes y proyectos para el proceso de construcción de paz derivado del Acuerdo Final en los territorios Indígenas, Negros, Palenqueros, Raizes y Rrom de Colombia.

A tres años de la firma del Acuerdo Final y de formalización de la IEANPE declaramos:

1. El Estado Colombiano en cabeza de Juan Manuel Santos y hoy de Iván Duque ha incumplido sistemáticamente con su responsabilidad en el funcionamiento pleno de la IEANPE y con los pueblos étnicos de Colombia, y no ha garantizado el cumplimiento de nuestra responsabilidad y mandatos.

2. Ante el incumplimiento del Estado colombiano con la IEANPE y con el Acuerdo Final de Paz, las organizaciones étnicas que hacemos parte de la misma, hemos asumido de forma autónoma la responsabilidad de hacer hacer cumplir los mandatos  del Capítulo Étnico y del Plan Marco de Implementación y acompañar a nivel nacional y territorialmente a los pueblos indígenas y afrocolombianos en su implementación. Sin embargo, la negativa del Estado colombiano de poner en funcionamiento del plan de trabajo presentado por la IEANPE aprobado por la CSIVI, ha limitado enormemente el proceso de implementación en los territorios étnicos, poniendo en grave peligro la existencia física y cultural de las comunidades y Pueblos, profundizando la desconfianza en el cumplimiento de lo acordado para construcción de la Paz.

3. En procesos transcendentales para el desarrollo de la construcción de paz en Colombia derivadas del Acuerdo Final como la formulación e implementación de los Planes de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial - PDET, o del Plan Nacional de Sustitución de Cultivos declarados Ilícitos - PNIS, que  requieren de la participación efectiva de la IEANPE, hoy vemos que el no funcionamiento de la IEANPE es un claro mensaje del Estado colombiano para no cumplir con sus responsabilidades de garantizar los derechos y la protección especial de los pueblos étnicos de Colombia, incluso como lo ha ordenado la Corte en los Autos 004, 005, 006 de 2009. Falla el Estado colombiano al no activar las iniciativas propias de los pueblos étnicos como las Guardias Cimarronas, las Guardias Indígenas y otros mecanismos de protección propias de las comunidades, claves en la protección de nuestra vida y nuestros territorios.

4. Así mismo, ha incumplido el Estado colombiano al no convocar la IEANPE a todas las sesiones de la CSIVI, y de las demás instancias del orden nacional encargadas del proceso de cumplimiento de lo acordado, lo que ha hecho imposible afirmar el capítulo transversal étnico del Acuerdo Final y su efectiva y oportuna implementación para hablar realmente de construcción de Paz.  

5. El Capítulo Étnico del Plan Marco de Implementación, documento derivado del Acuerdo Final como hoja de ruta para proceso de construcción de paz en Colombia, ha sido sistemáticamente incumplido por el Estado Colombiano, en cabeza de Juan Manuel Santos y actualmente de Iván Duque, y ha desconocido los mandatos de la IEANPE.

6. A tres años largos de haberse firmado el Acuerdo de Paz, los pueblos étnicos hemos sufrido la pérdida de varios de cientos de compañeros y en lo que va corrido del 2020 ya llevamos 26 indígenas asesinados, sin que esta tragedia obligue al estado colombiano a brindar garantías de protección que eviten el exterminio físico y cultural de nuestros pueblos.

Ante los incumplimientos reiterados que aquí denunciamos las vocerías de la IEANPE convocamos y exigimos:

1. Convocamos al sistema de Naciones Unidas en Colombia, a la MAPP-OEA, a las Embajadas y Organizaciones Internacionales encargadas de hacer seguimiento al proceso de implementación, a la Cooperación internacional que respalda financieramente la implementación del Acuerdo, REQUERIR al Estado colombiano para que cumpla con la implementación del Capítulo Étnico del Acuerdo Final y sus desarrollos, y nos acompañen en su exigibilidad.

2. Convocamos a la Procuraduría y demás órganos de control del Estado colombiano a que requiera y de ser necesario sancione a los responsables de estos incumplimientos en cabeza del gobierno nacional en la CSIVI.

3. Exigimos al Estado colombiano el cumplimiento de lo acordado con la IEANPE entre otros con la financiación del Plan de Acción para su buen funcionamiento y brinde las garantías requeridas para dar cumplimiento a los compromisos y mandatos derivados del Capítulo Étnico.

4. Convocamos de manera URGENTE se convoque a la IEANPE a una sesión especial con la CSIVI conjunta, a más tardar el 15 de marzo de 2020, para tratar lo relativo a la financiación del plan de acción para activar en plenas funciones a la IEANPE, abordar la ruta para hacer efectivo las metas, indicadores, planes y proyectos del Plan Marco de Implementación y la ruta para asesorar el desarrollo de MEC previa, elementos que deben empezar a desarrollarse para llevar a buen término la implementación del Acuerdo Final, del Capítulo Étnico y garantizar la construcción real de paz en nuestros territorios.

5. Convocamos a las comunidades, organizaciones  y autoridades tradicionales de los pueblos étnicos para que expresemos nuestra voz de inconformidad ante la inseguridad que atraviesa nuestros territorios y exijamos al gobierno y al estado el cumplimiento de la implementación integral e inmediata  del acuerdo de paz

6. Finalmente hacemos un llamado a la solidaridad de la comunidad nacional e internacional que respalda el Acuerdo de Paz en Colombia.

Dado en Bakatá (Bogotá) a los 27 días del mes de febrero de 2020. En sus consideraciones;

Charon Mina                  - Luz Mery Panche Chocué
Asdrual Plaza Calvo      - Abid Manuel Romaña
Luis Fernando Arias      - Ariel Quinto
Giovany Yule                 - Rodrigo Castillo Rodallega

Vocerías Nacionales Instancia Especial de Alto Nivel con Pueblos Étnicos - IEANPE

Declaration High-Level Special Instance with Ethnic Peoples (Instancia Especial de Alto Nivel con Pueblos Étnicos, IEANPE) for the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the FARC-EP, 3 years after the signing and formalization of the IEANPE (Transaled by WOLA)

The Ethnic Chapter of the Final Peace Agreement, numeral 6.2 of the Agreement, created the High-Level Special Instance with Ethnic Peoples to monitor the implementation of the Agreements (IEANPE). The ethnic chapter reads: "The body will have the functions of acting as a consultant, representative and first-order interlocutor of the Committee on Monitoring, Boosting and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CSIVI)". 

On 15 March 2017, through the joint communiqué number 13, the Instance was formalized before the CSIVI and 8 national spokesperson offices were chosen from the organizations that were promoters and partners in the development of the Ethnic Chapter, and that today converge on the Ethnic Commission for the Defense of Territorial Rights and in the National Ethnic Coordination of Peace (Comisión Étnica para la Defensa de los Derechos Territoriales y en la Coordinación Étnica Nacional de Paz, CENPAZ). 

Since the formalization of IEANPE, the Colombian State has committed itself to facilitating and financing the fulfillment of the organization’s mandates, including accompanying national and territorial processes in the implementation of the Agreement and creating the conditions for the full development of the Final Peace Agreement in the indigenous and Afro-Colombian territories most affected by the war.

In the second half of 2017, based on the pressure from IEANPE organizations, and from other national and international organizations responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the Agreement, the Macro Plan for Implementation between IEANPE and the Colombian State was laid out in an arduous and technically responsible process. This work of the IEANPE, extended to the perspectives of other instances of ethnic peoples including the Permanent Board of Concertation with Indigenous Peoples and the Rrom Gypsy Peoples, lead to a special chapter in the Macro Plan for Implementation with clear objectives, goals, programs, and projects for the peace-building process (derived from the Final Agreement) in Colombia’s Indigenous, Negros, Palenqueros, Raizes and Rrom territories.

Three years after the signing of the Final Agreement and the formalization of IEANPE we declare:

1. The Colombian State, lead by Juan Manuel Santos and today by Iván Duque, has systematically failed to fulfil its responsibility as it relates to the full functioning of IEANPE and with the ethnic peoples of Colombia, and has failed to guarantee the fulfilment of our responsibility and mandates.

2. In the face of the Colombian State's neglect of its duties with the IEANPE and the Final Peace Agreement, the ethnic organizations that are part of the IEANPE have autonomously assumed the responsibility of enforcing the mandates of the Ethnic Chapter and the Macro Plan for Implementation, and of accompany indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples nationally and territorially in their implementation. However, the Colombian State's refusal to put into operation the work plan presented by the IEANPE and approved by the CSIVI has greatly limited the implementation process in the ethnic territories, seriously jeopardizing the physical and cultural existence of the communities and peoples, deepening mistrust in the fulfillment of what had been agreed in terms of construction of peace.

3. In momentous processes for the development of peace-building in Colombia resulting from the Final Agreement, such as the formulation and implementation of the Development Programs with Territorial Focus (Planes de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial, PDET), or the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of illicit Crops (Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito, PNIS), which require the effective participation of IEANPE, we see today that the non-functioning of IEANPE is a clear message from the Colombian State to not fulfil its responsibilities to guarantee the rights and special protection of the ethnic peoples of Colombia, even as ordered by the Court through the Autos 004, 005, 006 of 2009. The Colombian State fails by not activating the initiatives of the ethnic peoples such as the Cimarrona Guards, the Indigenous Guards and other protection mechanisms typical of the communities, which are key in the protection of our lives and territories.

4. Similarly, the Colombian State has neglected its duties by not calling the IEANPE to all CSIVI‘s sessions, and the sessions of other national law enforcement bodies responsible for the implementation of what was agreed; which has made it impossible to affirm the transversal ethnic chapter of the Final Agreement and its effective and timely implementation and thus to really talk about peacebuilding.

5. The Ethnic Chapter of the Macro Plan for Implementation, a document derived from the Final Agreement as a roadmap for the peace-building process in Colombia, has been systematically neglected by the Colombian State, both under Juan Manuel Santos and Iván Duque, and has disregarded IEANPE’s mandates.

6. Three long years after the Peace Agreement was signed, the ethnic peoples have suffered the loss of several hundred colleagues and, so far in 2020, we have 26 indigenous persons killed; a tragedy that has not forced the Colombian state to provide protection guarantees that prevent the physical and cultural extermination of our peoples.

In the face of repeated neglect of duty that we, spokespersons of the IEANPE, here denounce, we convene and demand: 

1. We call on the United Nations system in Colombia, the MAPP-OAS, the Embassies and International Organizations responsible for monitoring the implementation process, the international Cooperation that financially supports the implementation of the Agreement, to REQUIRE the Colombian State to comply with the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Final Agreement and its developments, and that they accompany us in its enforcement.

2. We call on the Procuraduría and other monitoring bodies of the Colombian State to require and, if necessary, sanction those from the national government at the CSIVI responsible for this neglect.

3. We call on the Colombian State to comply with what was agreed with the IEANPE, among other things with financing the Plan of Action for its proper functioning and with providing the guarantees required to comply with the commitments and mandates derived from the Chapter Ethnic.

4. We URGENTLY call for the convening of the IEANPE in a special session with the joint CSIVI by March 15, 2020 to discuss the financing of the action plan so as to activate the IEANPE in its full set of functions, to address the path to implement the goals, indicators, plans and projects of the Macro Plan for Implementation and the route to advise the development of the previous MEC— elements that need to begin to be developed to bring the implementation of the Final Agreement and the Ethnic Chapter to fruition, and to ensure the real construction of peace in our territories.

5. We call on the traditional communities, organizations and authorities of ethnic peoples to express our voice of dissatisfaction with the insecurity that our territories are going through and to demand that the government and the state comply with the comprehensive and immediate implementation of the peace agreement.

 6. Finally, we call for the solidarity of the national and international community that supports the Peace Agreement in Colombia.

Given in Bakatá (Bogotá) at 27 days into February 2020. In their considerations;

Charon Mina Asdrual Plaza Calvo Luis Fernando Arias Giovany Yule Luz Mery Panche Chocué Abid Manuel Romaña Ariel Quinto Rodrigo Castillo Rodallega 

National Stockperson Offices High-Level Special Instance with Ethnic Peoples - IEANPE


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