At a press conference in Bogota on August 15, the names were announced of the first twelve victims of Colombia’s internal conflict set to appear at peace negotiations between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
These twelve make up the first of five groups that will take part in the talks in Havana, as the two teams attempt to reach general agreements on how to deal with the wide geographical, social and criminal scope of the victimization produced through half a century of conflict.
Among the initial group, five are victims of the FARC, and the rest are victims of the government or their paramilitary allies, or those caught up in crossfire between the two sides.
According to United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Fabrizio Hochschild, the range of victims is representative of the reality of the conflict.
“There are victims of violations not only at the hands of the FARC, but also victims of the state and the paramilitaries, and to me it seems extremely important to recognize them, as well as to recognize the victims of the guerrillas,” said Hochschild.
While many within the Colombian media have called for a greater number of FARC victims to appear within the group, according to NGO Redepaz’s Director Luis Emil Sanabria, the number in the first group of victims is more than representative of a proportion of the country’s 6 million victims the FARC is responsible for.
“We know that in Colombia the majority of victims are from the actions of the paramilitaries, followed by guerrilla organizations and the state. In that sense, to us it seems that within this delegation five people represents the scale of victims of the FARC,” said Sanabria.
The UN has previously estimated paramilitaries have been responsible for more than 80 per cent of conflict-related killings and the majority of other grave human rights abuses.
Charles Parkinson reports from Colombia for teleSUR.
See the full list of victims included in the first group below.
First Group of Selected Victims
Ángela Maria Giraldo
Sister of Francisco Javier Giraldo, deputy in Valle de Cauce, kidnapped and later killed by the FARC.
Alfonso Mora León
Father of a FARC militia member killed during the 1996 massacre of Mondoñedo, after being captured and tortured alongside five other youths. He is considered a victim of the state.
All of her family, made up of well-known politicians in the department of Caqueta, were murdered by the FARC. Her brother Rodrigo Turbay Cote was kidnapped in 1997 and killed in captivity. Her other brother and mother were killed alongside five other people in 2000.
Member of the Wayuu indigenous group, whose family members were killed in the 2004 massacre of Bahia Portete, committed by the paramilitaries. She is also a victim of displacement.
Father of one of 32 youths disappeared and murdered in Barrancabermeja by a paramilitary group in 1998.
Sister of Nidya Erika Bautista, who in 1987 was forced by various men in civilian clothing to board a vehicle, after which she disappeared. Her family searched for her for three years until member of the military admitted where her body had been disposed of.
Ex-councilman in the state of Huila, displaced following threats made and taken hostage by the FARC in 2001.
Son of a murdered political leader in the Atlantic coastal region, who was transferred to Bogota as an official of the Union Patriotica and secretary of the Communist Party and was killed at the Bogota airport in 1989.
Leader of the families of victims of the 2002 Massacre of Bojaya, in which 79 people died after taking refuge in a church, into which the FARC threw a cylinder bomb during an encounter with paramilitaries.
Luz Marina Bernal Parra
Mother of Fair Leonardo Porras Bernal, a 26 year old man with severe learning difficulties who disappeared from the state of Cundinamarca and whose body was disposed of in a mass grave in the state of Norte de Santander after being reported as a guerrilla killed in combat.
María Eugenia Cruz
Victim of gender violence, forced displacement and attacks and persecution carried out by various armed actors because of her work in women’s rights, especially victims of sexual abuse.
Mother of Lt. Alfonso Rodríguez González, who was murdered by the FARC in the state of Cauca in 2001.