Colombia (OpenDemocracy) – The outcome of the referendum on the peace agreement in Colombia was as surprising as Brexit. Why do people around the world vote against choices that obviously make sense? On February 6th, the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s…
Despite the deal reached between the Colombian government and the Marxist FARC guerrilla to lay down arms, there is a new cause of concern: what the several other criminal groups that operate in the country will do faced with such a power vacuum.
The famous rebel group has been responsible for a large number of killing, attacks, kidnappings, displacements, and other crimes in Colombia for the past five decades. But even if FARC surrenders, there is no shortage of armed groups that could continue this kind of violence.
In Colombia there are four prominent criminal organizations besides FARC that fight over the control of territories. Most, if not all of them, finance their activities through drug trafficking, and they all have a clear political ideology.
Officials Say a Kidnapping Would Violate International Humanitarian Law
Though there is no confirmation that the National Liberation Army (ELN) has kidnapped Spanish journalist Salud Hernández, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a warning recently saying that if they did, it would be a violation of international humanitarian law.
The ELN said it will consult with its various fronts to see if they do or do not have the reporter, and will issue a response in the coming days.
“Should it be confirmed that it was a kidnapping by ELN, it would not only be a crime under Colombian law, but also a violation of international humanitarian rights,” José Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director for HRW América, said.