The first few weeks of 2019 have been “disturbingly violent” in Colombia, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) that has been involved in the country’s peace process.

The Norwegian aid agency said in a press release on Monday that the ongoing mass killing of social leaders, ongoing forced displacement and a recent bomb attack in Bogota have “led to an increased sense of uncertainty among the Colombian population.”

The NRC said that called Duque’s decision to end of peace talks with the ELN, the country’s last-standing guerrilla group that carried out the terrorist attack in Bogota is “worrisome.”

Colombians who see social leaders and civilians killed every other day are losing their faith in any prospect of peace. Families are struggling to carve out a normal existence for themselves and everyday people are forced to flee their homes to escape the extreme violence in their communities.

NRC Colombia director Christian Visnes

According to the NRC, more than 1,300 people have been forced to flee their homes in the first few weeks of the year.

The United Nations’ humanitarian aid agency has reported mass displacement in the provinces of Antioquia, Norte de Santander and Nariño, areas that have become virtually lawless after the demobilization of the FARC in 2017.

As a consequence of the state’s ongoing neglect, “hundreds of thousands of victims still depend on humanitarian support. Violence and conflict continue depriving vulnerable communities from accessing most basic services, like clean water, food and education” said the NRC’s Colombia chief, Christian Visnes.

The Norwegian aid chief urged Colombians neither to abandon “hope for achieving lasting peace” nor allow “reckless acts of violence” “to destabilize the progress made so far” and urged the government to take “immediate measures” to protect the people.

The Colombian government must put in place immediate measures and make sure that people who are affected are protected and assisted according to need.

NRC Colombia director Christian Visnes

According to conflict monitoring NGO Indepaz, more than 550 social leaders have been assassinated since 2016, the year that the FARC laid down its weapons.

The mass killing is terrorizing social leaders and rural communities throughout Colombia that registered a record low in deadly violence in 2017, but has seen this increase again last year.

The administration of Ivan Duque, whose party is up to its neck in war crimes and has vehemently opposed the peace process, has been unable or unwilling to curb the violence.

The post Colombia “disturbingly violent”: Norwegian Refugee Council appeared first on Colombia News | Colombia Reports.

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