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Human Rights Watch Declines Invitation to FARC Deal Ceremony

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Sep 26, 2016, 11:53 am
José Miguel Vivanco, of Human Rights Watch, has been a critic of the transitional justice agreed between the government and FARC (YouTube)
José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch has been a strong critic of the peace deal made between the Colombian government and FARC (YouTube)

EspañolHuman Rights Watch for Latin America has refused Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos’ invitation to attend the signing of the peace agreement reached by the the government and the guerilla group FARC.

Director of Human Rights Watch in Latin America José Miguel Vivanco said he has serious reservations about the agreement to end the armed conflict that has spanned five decades, and for which there will be a ceremony Monday, September 26.

Vivanco said it is an honor for him to be invited to the event, held in the city of Cartagena. However, he said his organization continues to doubt the justice component of the process, as well as the extension of the benefits given to people who committed crimes against humanity that were agreed upon in Havana.

He expressed a desire to revise the justice component of the deal, while adding that he hopes institutions like Colombia’s Constitutional Court will “correct the major flaws of the justice agreement.”

“Human Rights Watch believes that it is of the utmost importance to establish the definition of the principle of responsibility,” he said. “Such principles contained in the agreement should reflect the accepted definition in international law.”

He went on to say that many ambiguities should be corrected, as they contain “effective restrictions to freedom.” He also said it is necessary for those responsible for crimes against humanity to receive an effective punishment that includes deprivation of liberty.

In the letter, Vivanco added that the legislation implementing the agreement should include restricting war criminals from exercising any political or public office, at least while serving sentences established in transitional justice.

Vivanco concluded by saying that there is great concern for the “law of amnesty and pardon” FARC has demanded in order to put down its weapons.

In the coming days, Human Rights Watch is expected to release another statement about further doubts regarding the peace deal.

SourceHuman Rights Watch

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.