New distribution battles over drug cultivation

New distribution battles over drug cultivation

Colombia – Violence despite peace treaty © Leonardo Munoz

After the recent wave of violence in Colombia, the diocese of Tumaco in the south of the country has called on the government to take measures to protect the population there.

In light of 132 murders since the beginning of the year, it was necessary for regional and national authorities to take measures to protect human rights, said a statement posted Monday on the website of the Colombian Bishops' Conference.

Struggle over drug cultivation

In the church's view, one of the reasons for the latest wave of violence is the growing share of drug cultivation in the affected region, which is leading to new battles for dominance there. The prosecutor's office had recently warned of splinter groups of the leftist guerrilla organization FARC, which despite the peace treaty with the government continues the armed struggle.

The area accounts for about 18 percent of the country's drug-growing land, around which new armed groups, including renegade FARC rebels, are now reorganizing, she said. They wanted to gain control. Massive paramilitary groups are also present in the region.

Conflict claimed 300.000 dead

The government and FARC had recently agreed on a new, revised peace accord, which was ratified by parliament about two weeks ago. Previously, a first contract had been rejected in a referendum. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. The decades-long conflict between the state and guerrillas has left around 300.000 human lives and produced more than seven million internally displaced persons.

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