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Nobel Peace Prize shows Colombia must not close the door on hopes for peace with justice

    October 07, 2016

    Today’s awarding of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos underscores the expectation that Colombians will persevere in their search for peace with justice, Amnesty International said.

    “Millions of Colombians still demand peace and justice. Today’s announcement honours not only the initiative taken by President Santos and his government, but many others both within Colombia and beyond who are seeking a path to peace with justice,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “We hope today’s announcement will embolden the parties to continue efforts to reach a definitive peace agreement that ensures the right of victims to truth, justice and reparation and brings an end to the human rights violations that have marked the armed conflict.

    “Human rights abuses continue in Colombians’ everyday lives, and have a disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, particularly Indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities, as well as people defending human rights, including community leaders, trade unionists and land rights activists. Any peace agreement will only be effective in the long term if it is implemented in very close consultation with the groups most affected by this bloody conflict for decades.

    “Today’s Nobel Peace Prize should bolster efforts to end violations and abuses committed during Colombia’s other ongoing conflict, with the ELN armed group, and push the Colombian authorities to take more effective steps to end violations committed by paramilitaries.”

    Human rights in Colombia in 10 numbers

    7.9 million – victims of the armed conflict, almost half of them are women. (Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas, UARIV, September 2016)

    6.9 million – victims of forced displacement. (UARIV)

    267,000 – conflict-related killings, mostly of civilians. (UARIV)

    4,392 – victims of possible extrajudicial executions recorded by the Office of the Attorney General (Office in Colombia of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, March 2016).

    46,386 - victims of enforced disappearance (UARIV).

    29,622 - kidnappings (UARIV).

    11,062 - victims of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance (UARIV)

    8,022 – child soldiers used by paramilitaries and guerrilla groups. (UARIV)

    63 - human rights defenders, including Indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer leaders, killed in 2015. Fifty-two in the first nine months of 2016. (We Are Defenders Programme).

    20 – trade union members killed in 2015 (The National Trade Union School, Escuela Nacional Sindical)


    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332