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  • "We All Want Peace," reads the flag.

    "We All Want Peace," reads the flag. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 August 2017

FARC members will return to civilian life as of Tuesday.

With the removal of containers of arms turned over by the FARC, the U.N.'s first mission in monitoring the Colombian peace process has come to an end. Observers are also scheduled to publicly announce the total number of weapon caches collected or destroyed, according to Colombia Reports.

Three Social Leaders Murdered in Colombia in Only 72 Hours

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has traveled to La Guajira to verify the departure of the last container with weapons left by ex-combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Also, a part of La Guajira will become a new Territorial Spaces of Training and Reincorporation for ex-guerrillas who will be civilians as of Tuesday.

In addition to the weapons, the last group of minors still in the camp will be delivered, FARC spokesperson Pastor Alape said Friday.

The U.N. has played a key role in the peace process over the last eight months, with more than 7,000 men, women and children having handed in their weapons.

But the peace process has entered its second phase amid growing assassinations of demobilized rebel members.

Jesus Adan Mazo, or "Molina," was killed after being removed from a house where he lived in Ituango in the state of Antioquia and shot by a group of armed men Monday. The day before, Norbey Tellez, who went by the name of Duvan Rios, was also killed, according to the FARC, which is now transitioning to a political party.

Apart from being the eighth FARC member killed since the peace accord was signed, Molina's direct involvement in the peace negotiations was pivotal to the signing of the agreement.

A statement released by the FARC read, in part, that Molina's assassination “occurs just a day before the end of the Transitional Standardization Zones and the beginning of the Territorial Spaces of Training and Reincorporation, which makes the residents of the concentration zones fearful since they consider this 'a very clear and fatal message for the (peace) process'.”

Areas once controlled by the FARC have led to a vacuum of power that has been quickly filled by right-wing paramilitaries that have brought terror and death to local communities and activists. Supposedly demobilized between 2003 and 2006 during the ultra-right presidency of Alvaro Uribe, the armed groups are said to work hand in hand with the Colombian Armed Forces, according to witnesses.

Armed Men in Colombia Kill 8th FARC Member, Raising Alarm

FARC members consistently have demanded that the state work to dismantle paramilitarism in the country, saying its ongoing violence represents the greatest threat to the peace process. But the government of Juan Manuel Santos has done little to curb the violence, reports demonstrate.

Official statistics show that a staggering 156 social and human rights leaders were killed in Colombia in the 14 months between Jan. 1, 2016 and March 1, 2017.

In May, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights raised alarm over the fact that at least 41 activists have been killed in Colombia so far this year, a record figure in comparison to previous years. The report laid bare the troubling escalation of violence despite a historic agreement between the government and the country's largest rebel army in late 2016.

U.N. commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said the figure shows a worsening trend of crimes against social leaders and human rights defenders.

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