Since the peace agreement was signed, hundreds of activists and campesinos have been killed by far-right paramilitaries.
The United Nations is pressuring Colombia’s Congress to approve the judicial adjustments agreed upon in the 2016 Peace Agreement between the government and former leftist rebels.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, called attention to the legislation, which awaits congressional approval.
The Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP, was formulated during the establishment of the peace agreement last November between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and then-leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The former guerrilla group is now a legal political party.
The JEP is widely acknowledged as a central pillar of the accord, affording ex-militants accused of serious crimes with the right to participate in politics.
Additional benefits for alleged offenders, thousands of whom stand to be tried for “war crimes,” is an alternative to prison sentences provided they confess and make amends with victims, promising not to take up a life of violence.
In its statement to the Colombian government, the international human rights group said it was the obligation of senators and representatives to uphold human rights, especially in the case of bringing peace and justice to millions of victims of war.
“The approval of the draft statute law of the JEP, by the Congress of the Republic, is fundamental for the effective fulfillment of international obligations in the area of human rights,” reads the OHCHR note.
The United Nations, charged with monitoring the peace process throughout the country, reminded Colombian authorities that submissions and coordination of former guerrilla members were done with the expectation that compensation would be delivered to victims.
Failure to honor the terms of the agreement could have international consequences for the Colombian government, the Human Rights Office said.
“This is why we remind the Senators and Representatives to the House of their obligation to guarantee human rights, especially the right to justice victims of serious violations, and urge them to move the discussion of bill forward without further delay,” the OHCHR said.
Although the draft statute for the judicial agreement was approved in preliminary commissions, postponements have significantly delayed the process. However, senators are expected to meet later today to discuss the initiative.
Since the peace agreement was signed, hundreds of social leaders, Afro-Indigenous activists and campesinos have been killed by far-right paramilitaries.