Bachelet envoy at odds with Colombian Gov't over FARC massacre
The Government of Colombia said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ envoy had everything mixed up regarding the responsibilities of the State in the Bojayá massacre perpetrated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas 20 years ago.
It seems that the wires are crossed for those who want to foist responsibilities on these regrettable events and always unload the responsibility on the State when it was terrorists who indiscriminately ended the lives of these Colombians, Presidential advisor Juan Camilo Restrepo said in reply to HCHR Representative Juliette de Rivero’s assessment.
On May 2, 2002, FARC fighters men and a group of paramilitaries clashed in the town of Bojayá, in the department of Chocó. Some 300 local residents took refuge in a nearby church, but a cylinder bomb fell on the temple, killing 98 people and wounding 100 more.
De Rivero said it was fundamental that the State recognizes its responsibility in order to make full reparations and to do justice in the face of this tragedy.
The book Bojayá, la guerra sin límites (Bojaya, war with no limits), written by the Historical Memory Group of the National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation, pointed out that the State had ignored the early warnings issued by national and foreign human rights organizations before the massacre, and emphasized the low presence of armed forces in that territory.
Those who want to take advantage of this to look for culprits in a troubled river are mistaken, Restrepo said in his argument.
Rivero cited figures from the Ministry of Justice which indicate that in the last 5 years in Chocó 1,221 people have died violently and up to February of this year there are 61 people and of these 35 deaths occurred in Quibdó, its capital. She added that at least 60,807 people have been affected this year by violence in the department of Chocó, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), of which 528 were displaced, 48,980 confined, 58 minors forcibly recruited by illegal armed groups and 109 people threatened.
Added to this, our office has documented four homicides of human rights defense leaders during these first four months of the year. More than 20 young indigenous people have committed suicide for fear of being recruited by armed groups in 2021 according to the Indigenous Roundtable, the UN official said in her speech at the commemoration events.
As a Government, especially that of President @IvanDuque, we have worked for more than three years to bring opportunities and comprehensive development to areas affected by violence, Restrepo added to his reply.
The current High Commissioner is former two-time Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.