Turnout was very low (37.43%). Low interest and a severe storm (Hurricane Mathew) over the Caribbean coast on election day prevented residents from reaching the polls. This is partly to blame for the low participation. The election results also show that most people who voted in favor of the agreement live in areas that have been hardest hit by the protracted war.
Immediately after the result of the referendum was clear, President Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, also known as “Timochenko”, issued a clear message that they wanted to maintain the ceasefire and continue working for a political solution to the conflict in Colombia.
The further process of peace talks in Colombia is uncertain, but dialogue between the Colombian authorities and the FARC is maintained, and peace talks with the ELN guerrillas have recently begun.
4: War with deep wounds
The protracted conflict has left deep scars on society. The military, police, guerrilla movements, paramilitary and other criminal groups are all behind serious human rights violations against the civilian population. Over 220,000 people have been killed, and even more abducted, since the war began in 1964. After Syria, Colombia is the country in the world with the most internally displaced people with over 6 million refugees (over 10 percent of the population) in their own country.
In addition, many civilians have ended up in crossfire between the parties in the war. Furthermore, human rights defenders from various sectors of society have been met with threats, violence, persecution and murder for their political involvement. The conflict has also helped to divide communities that have been forced to side with one or the other party. It has created mistrust and fear of cooperating and influencing politics through democratic processes.
The war has also helped to widen the gap between rich and poor. Many have benefited from the war through drug trafficking and other illegal activities, extortion and corruption . This has happened at the expense of already marginalized groups in society who have had little opportunity to improve their living conditions.
5: Indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians are discriminated against
Indigenous peoples and Afro- Colombians are minorities and historically marginalized groups in Colombia, as a country located in South America according to ETHNICITYOLOGY. Ever since the colonial era, they have faced discrimination and disrespect for their basic human rights. This unfair treatment has continued to affect these groups throughout the years of the Civil War.
Indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians and small farmers make up the largest proportion of internally displaced persons . This is largely due to the fact that these groups have traditionally lived in remote areas. This is where most of the coca raw material has been grown and where cocaine has been extracted.
Also otherwise, these are areas that are rich in natural resources. Economic and political interests have therefore tried to control these lands with the help of armed groups that have threatened, repressed and perpetrated violence and abuse against the local population.
Colombia has signed several international agreements that safeguard indigenous peoples’ human rights as an individual and as a group. The new constitution from 1991 contains these rights and obliges the authorities to comply with them. According to Colombian law, indigenous peoples must be able to preserve and further develop their language and culture, have their own political governing bodies and take part in deciding on their own societal development.
Several of these rights also apply to the Afro-Colombian population, which has a long history in the country. Despite the fact that important laws on paper must ensure these rights, many feel that the same rights are still not respected in practice .
6: Youth in conflict
Almost a third of Colombia’s population is in the age group 10–24 years. Today’s young people in Colombia have not been involved in starting the war, but still have to live with the effects of it. Young people are considered to be one of the most vulnerable groups in the conflict. Children and young people make up at least 30 percent of the deaths, according to the Unit for Victims , which during the peace process has registered the number of victims of the conflict. Thousands have been forced to become child soldiers , experienced that their school has been attacked by soldiers or threatened with death because they have committed themselves to a better society.
This year’s NPD project will go to youth organizations or organizations that work to enable young people to go to safe schools, have knowledge of their rights and be able to influence politics. The student organization ANDES, which is one of the partners in this year’s NPD project, reports that many students are forcibly recruited by the military in the schoolyard or on their way to school. They work to ensure that their members and other high school students know about their right to refuse the military and what methods are illegal to use by the military. By following up cases of illegal recruitment, ANDES gives a clear signal that young people cannot be trampled on.