PLAN FOR PEACE, PROSPERITY, AND THE STRENGTHENING OF THE STATE
As Colombia stands both proud and threatened on the threshold of the 21st century, we are faced with the historic challenge of establishing and securing a society where the Colombian state can exercise its true authority and fulfill its essential obligations, as stated in our Constitution:
"...to serve the community, promote prosperity and guarantee the principles, rights and duties as consecrated in the Constitution; to facilitate the participation of the people in the decisions that affect them and the economic, political, administrative and cultural life of the Nation; to defend our independence, maintain our territorial integrity and assure peaceful coexistence and a just order."
All these objectives are at stake today. The chief responsibility for us in government is to build a better, more secure country for this generation and future ones—to make the Colombian state a more effective force for domestic tranquility, prosperity and progress. We need to build a state for Social Justice, which will protect all of our citizens, and uphold all their rights to life, dignity and property, freedom of belief opinion and the press.
To make this fundamental idea a reality for Colombia, we must meet and master difficult and ever-changing national and international conditions. We face issues raised by the international economy and others posed by the history and evolution of our own country. The decisive challenges for Colombia come from the spread of drug-trafficking, and the economic, political and social impact of globalization.
There is no question that Colombia suffers from the problems of a state yet to consolidate its power: a lack of confidence in the capacity of the armed forces, the police, and the judicial system to guarantee order and security; a credibility crisis at different levels and in different agencies of government; and corrupt practices in the public and the private sectors. All this has been fed and aggravated by the enormous destabilizing effects of drug trafficking, which, with vast economic resources, has constantly generated indiscriminate violence while undermining our values, on a scale comparable only to the era of Prohibition in the United States.
At the same time, the Colombian economy, despite forty years of continuous growth, has not been able to bring the benefits of prosperity to the majority of our people; nor has it been able significantly to reduce poverty levels. The violence and corruption fuelled by drug trafficking generate distrust among foreign investors, putting a major roadblock in the path of modernizing the way things work, which is essential for generating employment and securing a stable and prosperous place for Colombia in a newly globalized world.
In short, the hopes of the Colombian people and the work of the Colombian government have been frustrated by drug trafficking, which makes it extremely difficult for the government to fulfill its constitutional duty. A vicious and pervasive cycle of violence and corruption has drained the resources essential to the construction and success of a modern State.
We understand that reaching our objectives will depend on a social and governmental process that may take several years—a time when it is critical to achieve a lasting consensus within a Colombian society where people understand and demand their rights, but are also willing to abide by their responsibilities.
In the face of all this, my government is absolutely committed to strengthen the State, regain the confidence of our citizens, and restore the basic norms of a peaceful society. Attaining peace is not a matter of will alone. Peace must be built; it can come only through stabilizing the State, and enhancing its capacity to guarantee each and every citizen, throughout the entire country, their security and the freedom to exercise their rights and liberties.
Negotiation with the insurgents, which my government initiated, is at the core of our strategy because it is one critical way to resolve a forty-year old historic conflict that raises enormous obstacles to creating the modern and progressive state Colombia so urgently needs to become. The search for peace and the defense of democratic institutions will require long effort, faith and determination, to deal successfully with the pressures and doubts inherent in so difficult a process.
The fight against drug trafficking constitutes another important part of Plan Colombia. The strategy would advance a partnership between consumer and producer countries, based on the principles of reciprocity and equality. The traffic in illicit drugs is clearly a transnational and complex threat, destructive to all our societies, with enormous consequences for those who consume this poison, and enormous effects from the violence and corruption fed by the immense revenues the drug trade generates. The solution will never come from finger-pointing by either producer or consumer countries. Our own national efforts will not be enough unless they are part of a truly international alliance against illegal drugs.
Colombia has demonstrated its absolute commitment and made heavy sacrifices to forge a definitive solution to the phenomenon of drug trafficking, to the armed conflict, human rights violations and destruction of the environment caused by drug production. Yet, in truth, we must acknowledge that more than twenty years after marijuana cultivation came to Colombia, along with increased cocaine and poppy cultivation, drug trafficking continues to grow as a destabilizing force, distorting the economy, reversing the advances made in land distribution, corrupting society, multiplying violence, depressing the investment climate—and most seriously, providing increased resources to fund all armed groups.
Colombia has been leading the global battle against drugs, taking on the drug cartels and losing many of our best citizens in the process. Now, as drug trafficking becomes a more fragmented network, more internationalized, underground, and thus harder to combat, the world continues testing new strategies. More resources are being targeted for education and prevention. We see the results in the increased confiscation and expropriation of profits and properties obtained from illegal drug trafficking. In Colombia, we have recently launched operations to destroy processing laboratories and distribution networks. We are improving and tightening security and control of our rivers and airspace to assure better interdiction, and we are exploring new ways to eradicate illegal crops. The factors directly related to drug trafficking—like money laundering, smuggling of chemicals, and illegal arms trafficking—are components of a multi-faceted problem that must be dealt with across the globe, wherever illicit drugs are produced, transported, or consumed.
Our success also requires reforms at the very heart of our institutions, in particular, in our military forces to uphold the law and return a sense of security to all Colombians everywhere in Colombia. Strong, responsible, responsive military and police forces committed to peace and respect for human rights are indispensable to consolidating and maintaining the rule of law. Also, we need—and we are committed—to securing a modern and effective judicial system sworn to defend and promote respect for human rights. We will be tireless in this cause, convinced that our first obligation as a government is to guarantee that our citizens can exercise their rights and fundamental liberties, free from fear.
But Colombia’s strategy for peace and progress also depends on reforming and modernizing other institutions so the political process can function as an effective instrument of economic advancement and social justice. To make progress here, we have to reduce the causes and provocations of violence, by opening new paths to social participation and creating a collective conscience which holds government accountable for results. Here our strategy includes a specific initiative to guarantee, within five years, full access for all our people to education and an adequate healthcare system, with special attention for the most vulnerable and neglected. In addition, we plan to strengthen local governments, in order to make them more sensitive and responsive to the needs and will of our citizens. We will also encourage active grassroots participation in our fight against corruption, kidnapping, violence, and the displacement of people and communities.
Finally, Colombia requires aid to strengthen its economy and generate employment. Our country needs better and fairer access to markets where our products can compete. Assistance from the United States, the European Community and the rest of the international community is vital to our economic development. That development, in turn, is a critical counter force to drug trafficking, because it brings alternative legal employment, for individuals who might otherwise be lost to organized crime or to the insurgent groups that feed off drug-trafficking. We are convinced that the first step toward meaningful worldwide globalization is to create a sense of global solidarity. This is why Colombia is asking for support from its partners. We cannot succeed without programs for alternative development in rural areas, and easier international access for our legitimate exports. This is the only way to successfully offset the illegal drug trade.
There are reasons to be optimistic about the future of Colombia, especially if we receive a positive response from the world community, as we work to create widespread prosperity combined with justice. This will make it possible for Colombians to pave the way to a lasting peace.
The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno wrote: "Faith is not to believe in the invisible, but rather to create the invisible". Today, a peaceful, progressive, drug-free Colombia is an invisible ideal—but we are determined to make it the reality of our future. With the full commitment of all our resources and resolve, with the solidarity and assistance of our international partners in the common fight against the plague of drug trafficking, we can and will forge the new reality of a modern, democratic, and peaceful Colombia, not just surviving, but thriving in the new millennium as a proud and dignified member of the world community.
1. An economic strategy that generates employment supports the ability of the State to collect tax revenues and allows the country to have a viable counterbalancing economic force to narco-trafficking. The expansion of international commerce, accompanied by enhanced access to foreign markets and free trade agreements that attract foreign and domestic investment, are key to the modernization of our economic base and to job creation. Such a strategy is crucial at a time when Colombia is confronting its worst economic crisis in seventy years, with unemployment reaching 20%, which in turn greatly limits the government's ability to confront drug trafficking and the violence it generates.
2. A fiscal and financial strategy that includes tough austerity and adjustment measures, in order to boost economic activity and recover the historically excellent prestige of Colombia in the international financial markets.
3. A military strategy to restructure and modernize the Colombian Armed Forces and the National Police, to make them more capable to re-establish the rule of law and provide security throughout the country, and in combating organized crime and armed groups.
4. A judicial and human rights strategy to reaffirm the rule of law and assure equal and impartial justice to all Colombians, while pushing ahead with the reforms already initiated among the State security forces to ensure their proper role in defending and respecting the rights and dignity of each and every Colombian.
5. A counter-narcotics strategy, in partnership with other producer and consumer nations, to combat the production and consumption of illegal drugs; and on a national level to allow us to obstruct the flow of millionaire resources from drugs to various insurgent and other armed organizations which is fueling violence.
6. An alternative development strategy that will promote agricultural and other profitable economic activity for small rural farmers and their families. Alternative development will also consider economically feasible environmental protection activities that conserve the forest areas to stop the dangerous expansion of illegal cultivation throughout the Amazon Delta and Colombia’s vast natural parks, whose immense biodiversity and environmental importance to the entire globe is incalculable.
7. A social participation strategy aimed at collective consciousness-raising. This strategy aims at more accountable local governments, community involvement in anti-corruption efforts and in continuing to put pressure on insurgent and other armed groups to end kidnapping, violence and internal displacement of citizens and communities. Also, this strategy will include working with local business and labor groups, in order to adopt newer, more productive models in light of a more globalized economy, and to strengthen our agricultural communities in the face of rural violence.
8. A human development strategy to promote efforts to guarantee, within the next few years, adequate education and health, to provide opportunities to every young Colombian and to help vulnerable groups in our society, including not just those affected and displaced by violence but also those in conditions of extreme poverty.
9. A peace strategy that aims at a negotiated peace agreement with the insurgency on the basis of territorial integrity, democracy and human rights, and which should strengthen the rule of law and the fight against drugs throughout the country.
10. An international strategy to confirm Colombia´s leadership in the consolidation of the principles of shared responsibility, integrated action and balanced treatment of the drug issue. The role of the international community is also vital to the success of the peace process provided it conforms to norms established in international law and is requested by the Colombian government.
I. APPROACH TO COLOMBIAN ECONOMY
Promotion of Trade and Investment
II. Colombian Counter-drug Strategy
1. The Colombian Government has made the fight against drug production and trafficking one of its top strategic priorities. Narcotics is a threat not only to the internal security of the nation but also to people in both consumer and producer nations.
2. Drug trafficking, because of its huge profits and its destabilizing power, is one of the central factors generating violence throughout Colombia. For this reason the government must focus significant attention on this problem and is determined to combat narcotics, in terms of drug-trafficking, production, consumption and any other elements that support this illicit activity, which threatens the democratic institutions and the integrity of our nation.
3. The strengthening of the police and the armed forces through its modernization, restructuring and professionalization is crucial to make them more capable of reestablishing the rule of law, restoring security to Colombians throughout the nation and halting the penetration of irregular groups and organized crime, especially those associated with drug trafficking.
4. The National Government of the Republic of Colombia is committed to implement a long-term National Counternarcotics strategy, an outline of which follows:
Strategy based on human values
Mission StatementNational Mission: To ensure order, stability, and the rule of law; guarantee sovereignty over national territory; protect the State and the civilian population from threats posed by illegal armed groups and criminal organizations; break the links between the illegal armed groups and the criminal drug industry that supports them.
Over the next six years, the goal is to reduce the cultivation, processing and distribution of narcotics by 50%.
Objective No. 1: Strengthen the fight against drug trafficking and dismantle the trafficking organizations through an integrated effort by the armed forces.
· Combat illicit cultivation through continuous and systematic action of both the military and police forces, especially in the Putumayo region and in Southern Colombia, and strengthen the eradication capacity of the Colombian National Police. Establish military control of the south for eradication. Destroy the processing structures and improve land, air, sea and river interdiction of drugs and illegal precursor chemicals.
· Establish government control over key drug production areas.
Objective No. 2: Strengthen the judicial system and combat corruption
· Strengthen the infrastructure of the Prosecutor’s office, the courts and the public defenders.
· Reinforce and train the corps of police investigators
· Build up the group charged with fighting corruption and investigating civil servants
· Reform the prison and jail system
· Apply extradition laws
· Obtain a proposal for oral trials in criminal cases and, in the meantime, draft regulations for the present criminal procedures for public trials
· Strengthen the infrastructure of the prosecutor’s office, the courts and the public defenders, especially the human rights units.
Objective No. 3: Neutralize the drug trade’s financial system and seize its resources for the state.
· Strengthen counter-smuggling efforts
· Carry out a vigorous asset seizure program
· Freeze and interdict bank accounts and assets inside and outside the country
Objective No. 4: Neutralize and combat the agents of violence allied with the drug trade
· Increase security for citizens against kidnapping, extortion and terrorism
· Halt the acquisition of arms by those groups which profit from drug trafficking though a concerted international effort.
Objective No. 5: Integrate national initiatives into regional and international efforts
· Share information and intelligence with other security agencies in the country.
· Contribute to and coordinate with regional and international operations and efforts
Objective No. 6: Strengthen and expand plans for alternative development in the areas affected by drug trafficking
· Provide job opportunities and social services to people living in the cultivation zones
· Promote public information campaigns on the dangers of illegal drugs
INTEGRATED FOCUS OF THE PLAN
Develop an integrated effort by the armed forces and police aimed at striking the narcotics cultivation zones and at breaking up the armed, logistics and financial structures of the drug trade through a continuous and systematic effort in three phases, aimed at reducing cultivation and production by 50% over six years:
Phase 1: Short-range military, police and judicial effort aimed at Putumayo and the south and planned for one year
Phase 2: Medium-range military, police, judicial and social effort aimed at the southeastern and central parts of the country, and planned for 2-3 years
Phase 3: Extend the integrated effort throughout the country over 3-6 years
ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND MEANS
Through its counterdrug policies, the government aims to combat through an integrated plan one of the violence-generating agents which contributes significantly to the high crime rate. Institutional priorities and responsibilities are the following:
All units of the armed forces should ensure the protection of democracy and human rights as a primary responsibility in the performance of its counterdrug missions. The armed forces will increase training in human rights before, during and after carrying out each phase. Protection of the civilian population requires an increased effort to fight the illegal ¨self-defense¨ groups in the drug growing and processing areas.
Role and mission of each force: The Ministry of Defense and the Department of Administrative Security (DAS ) will maintain their assigned priorities in the fight against the violence-generating agents, seeking to optimize results and achieve the following assigned objectives:
· Military Forces - priority: insurgents, illegal ¨self-defense¨ groups, drug trafficking and organized crime
· National Police - priority: drug trafficking, organized crime and petty crime
· DAS - priority: economic and financial crime against the State, illegally gained wealth of individuals and of insurgent groups
Counternarcotics operations will be planned and carried out jointly, developing the doctrine required for successful operations.
Tailor and equip units to meet threats to national security and reapportion forces as required to execute strategic plans – emphasizing offensive operations while maintaining essential defense requirements. Develop an operational plan; emphasize training; move toward a professional, predominantly volunteer force; and continue to improve the Colombian military judicial system.
The Armed Forces will increase the professionalization of elements employed in counternarcotics operations as part of a process of evolving toward a professional force.
Ministries and Institutions: The Ministry of the Interior and the Governors and Mayors will issue those decrees and resolutions necessary to restrict the traffic and movement of people, weapons and legal materials used in the processing of illegal drugs in the targeted areas at the request of the military or police commander.
BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE STRATEGY AGAINST NARCOTRAFFICKINGEven though the fight against narcotrafficking is a primary activity for the State’s police corps, the close link with illegal, armed groups has made the Military Forces dedicate itself to making a decided and committed contribution, in an integrated and cohesive form in the fight against this threat.
Complimentary Actions in the strategy
The Armed Forces and the Police have designed a series of actions that support these defined roles and responsibilities:
Human Rights and OperationsDevelop an outreach campaign in an independent form by phases and areas that support the goals of the strategic objectives. A special effort to sensitize our own troops in the reaffirmation of the values, ethics, and the respect for Human Rights. Sensitivity action towards the civil population in support of operational plans and alternative development. Desertion campaign aimed at members of armed groups and narcotraffickers to re-integrate into society.
Air InterdictionConsolidate control over national air space by all means necessary. Dissuasion of the use of the airspace (intelligence from all agencies, Air Force). Increase the operational range of the Colombian Air Force for interdiction. Supply additional help for the interdiction with the end result being the incremental increase in the rhythm of the operations and expansion of geographic coverage. Improve the air interdiction program with emphasis on eastern Colombia.
Marine, River and Chemical interdictionIncrease and improve the operational support for the Navy and the Marines. Improve the efforts to control the importation of precursor chemicals. Interdiction of precursor chemicals in air, marine, river and ground (Army, Infamar, Air Force, Police). Improve the controls to intercept the ground movement of drugs by the CNP, in ports and airports.
Increase CNP Operational Support by the Armed ForcesIncrease the employment of combined operations with the CNP. Strengthen the combined efforts between Colombia and the United States. Improve the protection of our own forces. Integrate the forces in intelligence collection and analysis. Increase the number of troops in operations. Increase mobility with emphasis on airmobile and riverine operations in the jungle. Improve the capacity of the units to conduct combined night operations.
Operations against laboratories and stockpilesDestroy the processing infrastructure. (Intelligence, Army, Infarnar, Air Force, National Police). Combat the armed protectors of the narcotraffickers. (Army, Infarnar, Air Force). Increase the ability of the CNP and the Armed Forces to detect laboratories. Augment the means to destroy the infrastructure. Reduce the capability of commercializing precursor materials and drugs. (Intelligence, Police, Navy, Army, Air Force).
Eradication of cropsStrengthen and increase the employment of combined security operations during fumigation and eradication operations. Support the new strategies under the United Nations International Drug Control Program, to test and develop environmentally safe and reliable biological control agents, thereby providing new eradication technologies .
SummaryThe purpose of this strategy is to strengthen the fight against narcotrafficking by bringing all elements of the Police and Armed Forces to bear against the traffickers. The goal is to eliminate large-scale drug production, end large-scale violence and lawlessness by organized armed groups, promote respect for human rights and break the link between armed groups and their narcotics industry support.
III. Justice Sector Reform
1. Colombia is committed to continue to build a fair and effective justice system. Judicial sector reform will ensure a transparent, fair, accessible and independent system. Effective reform is a key element in restoring public confidence in civil society.
2. Dealing with the traffickers and the culture of violence, corruption and lawlessness they support involves the entire criminal justice system. Particularly the trafficking of cocaine, heroin and other drugs threaten every aspect of civil society and these strategies respond accordingly.
3. These issues cut across Colombian agencies – even across separate branches of Government. The Executive Branch will work closely with the Legislative and Judicial branches to ensure effective coordination and implementation of these strategies.
I. Investigate, prosecute and when found guilty, securely incarcerate narcotics traffickers, human rights abusers and other violent criminals
1. Narcotics trafficking is a transnational crime that has domestic and international consequences. Colombia will investigate, prosecute and appropriately sentence major narcotics traffickers and related criminals. Criminals must be incarcerated in secure prisons so they cannot continue their crimes from jail. International criminals – who have broken other nations’ laws – must be, in accordance to Colombian laws, extradited to be judged in the jurisdictions where the evidence of the violations has been collected and in the communities they have harmed. The Government will ensure that expanded counternarcotics and counter-insurgency efforts will not be undertaken at the expense of protection of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
2. In order to address this priority Colombia will: strengthen domestic and multilateral law enforcement initiatives, including a) multilateral investigations and joint training, and b) effective protection for witnesses and judicial officials; extradite international criminals in accordance with domestic and international law; improve the prison system to meet international standards for security, including adequate facilities and a well-trained and professional corrections staff; and expand multilateral initiatives to control and interdict illicit flows of chemical precursors, including potassium permanganate.
3. The unacceptably high rates of kidnapping and violent street crime, in many cases related to or a product of narcotics trafficking, must be reduced to restore the public’s sense of security and well being.
4. Strategies to address this priority include: develop anti-violence programs throughout the country involving law enforcement, judicial and community leaders with emphasis on narcotics related crime; develop, train and equip an anti-kidnapping unit to investigate and prosecute kidnapping crimes.
II. Deprive Criminals of Illegal Profits and Recapture Resources for Civil Society
1. Combating money laundering and forfeiting illegal profits from traffickers (estimated at more than a billion dollars) can support law enforcement and demand reduction as well as other social initiatives (including land reform, alternative development, and the strengthening of civil institutions) critical to a lasting peace.
2. Strategies to address this priority include: effectively implement existing asset forfeiture legislation and make necessary adjustments to expeditiously forfeit properties seized from criminals; strengthen existing law and institutions to fight money laundering, including the Fiscalia AFML Specialized Unit and the Financial Information and Analysis Unit; ensure coordination among national and international authorities to secure effective information sharing and prosecution; break the financial link between narcotics traffickers, the insurgency and paramilitaries through effective law enforcement programs and multilateral coordination; prosecutors, investigators and customs officials and their international counterparts should target and continue to coordinate efforts to dismantle the black market peso exchange process; complete the development of mechanisms to share assets forfeited in multilateral law enforcement efforts in accordance with international law.
3. The Government of Colombia will move as quickly as possible to complete the formal expropriation of assets, especially land, that has been seized from convicted narcotraffickers. This land will be used, among other things, for the resettlement of small farmers and landless laborers leaving the coca- producing areas as well as those families displaced by rural violence.
III. Promote transparency and Accountability of the Judicial System1. Colombia is committed to respect the rule of law and will continue to strengthen all aspects of the judicial system, including fostering the continuing transition to an accusatory system (including oral trials and effective investigations), speeding the movement of cases through the judicial process, ensuring access to justice throughout the nation regardless of geographic location or income. The Government of Colombia will provide leadership to make the judicial system more effective, transparent, fair and accessible.
2. To make the judicial system more effective, the government of Colombia will seek to reduce impunity through improved prosecution, more effective investigations and speedier trials. Ensure effective justice sector coordination, including open communication and effective policy implementation among the different branches and offices of the state responsible for judicial reform and administration; expand training for judicial sector officials, including judges, public defenders and prosecutors to ensure openness to public scrutiny and just outcomes in all cases, including military cases under civilian jurisdiction; implement a core curriculum for judicial police investigators through a single judicial police training academy; ensure public access country-wide to justice services and a fair defense.
IV. Combat Contraband and Strengthen Narcotics Interdiction
1. A crucial element to eliminate narcotics trafficking is to close the transportation routes for drugs, precursor chemicals and contraband (which often represents the repatriation of narcotics proceeds). This requires a coordinated effort at all of Colombia’s ports of entry and borders.
2. Strategies to address this priority include: coordinate effective maritime enforcement, including joint efforts between the Colombian Navy, the Attorney General and international counterparts to seize narcotics and chemicals and effectively prosecute violators; strengthen and expand existing port security programs to include all national ports of entry; improve information sharing with international counterparts on suspected offenders, routes and shipment trends; fully equip and train a Customs Police service to ensure effective airport and marine port control; strengthen international cooperation to fight contraband; work closely with other Governments, so that the private sector commits itself to develop effective measures to control and prevent contraband, by implementing a “know your client” policy, and better knowing their client´s practices.
V. Eliminate corruption
1. Narcotics proceeds have corrupted officials in all branches of Government and eroded public confidence in civil institutions. Colombia will continue its efforts to fight corruption and ensure that violators are subjected to administrative or criminal sanctions, as appropriate.
2. This will be done by: building upon existing initiatives, including the Presidential Program Against Corruption and the Fiscal´s Specialized Anti-Corruption Unit; implementing effective financial disclosure and rigorous pre-employment and in-service integrity checks;
3. The Government of Colombia will work through the Presidential Program Against Corruption and the Comptroller General to increase the transparency of government procurement actions and financial transfers to local governments.
VI. Reduction of Demand
Colombia is often seen as a producer of illegal drugs but consumption is rapidly increasing among its population. The task of prevention of the consumption of illegal drugs is directed primarily at the young, and is designed to discourage them from starting to consume illicit drugs and to control the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and addictive medicaments. The treatment and rehabilitation networks will also be increased to reach many people who have no access today.
IV. Plan for Democratization and Social Development
The general objective of this strategy is to reduce the causes and manifestations of violence, progressively and systematically, by strengthening social participation and collective consciousness-raising. This strategy aims at more accountable local governments, community involvement in anti-corruption efforts and in continuing to put pressure on insurgent and other armed groups to end kidnapping, violence and internal displacement of citizens and communities. Also, the strategy builds on social participation to generate economic, social and cultural conditions to make the eradication of illicit crops viable in peasant-economy areas and indigenous reserves.
I. Promotion, Respect and Protection of Human Rights1. The Colombian government has assumed, under the coordination of the office of the Vice President, a total commitment to the protection and realization of those fundamental rights which transcend internal laws, since Colombia is a party to numerous multilateral treaties and pacts.
2. The government is complying with the following actions: spreading a deeper understanding of human rights through the media, and applying a educational model for use in the Armed Forces, supporting politically and materially the work of the human rights units of the different institutions as well as in training journalists in human rights and International Humanitarian Law. At the same time, the government is working in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia.
3. A strategy to fight against impunity, to harbor support for various inter-institutional committees that have been created in the last year and that work to push for the investigations and sanctions regarding the most severe cases of human rights abuse. In the same way, the government will have established by the end of this year a Permanent National Commission on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and has presented to the Colombian Congress bills with respect to missing persons and crimes against humanity, and ratification of the International Penal Court.
4. A strategy to protect those who work in defense of human rights, through the support of the Witnesses and Threatened Persons Program, and a Presidential order that requires all public functionaries to protect human rights workers and to support their work and those of NGOs throughout the country.
II. Policy for the Prevention and Care of the Internally Displaced1. Actions directed, as the first order, to helping those who are displaced to return home, and, in the second place, to guarantee stability through social investment and productive programs in these areas. The Government's strategy for attention to displaced persons will be closely coordinated with the peace process and the overall effort at increasing local government capacity. Attention to displaced persons will be undertaken primarily by municipal governments and Colombian NGOs under the leadership of the Red de Solidaridad Social. The Government of Colombia will also invite the participation of international organizations at the municipal level as a means of mobilizing additional resources as well as to establish independent verification of the local situation.
2. According to the outlines of the Governing Principles of the internal displacement, the Government’s action seeks to neutralize the causes that lead to displacement by improving security in those areas of highest incident. In conflictive areas, the Government will establish an early warning system to detect imminent violence and permit an appropriate response. In the cases where it is not possible to prevent displacement, the government will look to strengthen its abilities to address local needs.
3. Develop special measures to guarantee that, each time a person is displaced, his or her rights will be protected, while establishing minimum standards for emergency humanitarian assistance with respect to water and hygiene, nutrition, health and shelter, taking into account the various needs of different age groups, with special attention given to children, women and ethnic minorities. Wherever feasible, the Government of Colombia will promote Communities of Peace to which displaced persons can return and where delivery of social services and public security can be facilitated.
III. National Plan for Alternative Development1. The Colombian policy for the voluntary abandonment of illicit crops by small farmers (less than 3 hectares in production) and plantation laborers is driven by the proximity of the producing area to potential markets, the origin of the people producing the illicit crop, and the agricultural potential of the land where illicit crops are being grown.
2. In the poppy-producing areas, as well as approximately one third of coca-producing areas, it is generally feasible to substitute one or more agricultural crops for the illicit production of small farmers. In these areas, producers will be encouraged to abandon illicit production in return for assistance in establishing profitable legal crops, provision of education and health services, improved municipal infrastructure, and public security. Municipal governments, the private sector, and Colombian NGOs will work with the Government of Colombia in the establishment of sustainable crops and to strengthen the links between producers and local and urban markets.
3. It is estimated that as much as 60 percent of the coca-producing areas are far from potential markets and in areas that are poorly suited to any sort of sustained agricultural production. To offer legal income opportunities to small farmers and laborers in such areas, the Colombian Government envisions three possible responses: First, farmers and others with an agricultural vocation will be offered the opportunity to move from the coca-producing areas and resettled on land that has been seized from narcotics traffickers or provided by the land reform institute, INCORA; second, economic opportunities in small- and micro-enterprise will be offered in the urban areas of origin for migrant coca farmers, to remove the economic incentive for that migration; third, the Colombian Government will work with indigenous groups and local governments to launch economically feasible environmental protection activities that conserve the forested areas in an effort to slow the advance of the agricultural frontier into inappropriate areas. The conservation and protection effort will also generate employment for some former coca farmers.
4. The estimated cost of the National Alternative Development Plan for 2000-2003 is $500 million. Of this, $350 million will be for technology transfer and productive enterprises, $100 million for infrastructure development in rural areas, and $50 million for conservation and restoration of environmentally fragile areas.
IV. Strategy for Sustainable Development in Environmentally Fragile Areas and their Protection1. The armed conflict affects the natural habitat, as does the expansion of agriculture and, most notably, illegal crops, which have destroyed close to one million hectares of forest between 1974 and 1998. These zones include a high percentage of conservation areas and national parklands, and there is ample evidence that this process of expansion poses a serious threat to the vital Amazon Delta.
2. Actions to confront this problem include restoring certain areas as national parklands, while also recovering forestlands which, it is hoped, will contribute to the global objectives to preserve the Amazon Delta, as noted at the Convention of Climactic Change, with respect to the absorption of CO2.
3. Moreover, the government will help the move away from unsustainable products towards those more amenable to local and regional conditions, strengthened by other experiences with more sustainable products.
4. Finally, to support the small reforestation in the primary transformation of wood and non-wood products in the forest, to consolidate green markets that generate possibilities for local businesses.
V. The role of local communities and municipalities in the social and alternative development strategy
1. Citizens expect security, order, employment, basic services and a brighter future for their children. National programs such as those in alternative development, environmental protection, displaced persons and assistance to conflict zones aim to help fulfill these expectations, thereby reducing incentives for residents to move or to produce illicit crops. Local communities and municipalities play a critical role in helping national programs reach Colombia’s citizens.
2. Strengthening local governments’ capacities to develop and carry out national social investment programs, work with local non-governmental organizations and businesses in solving local problems and account for their performance is central to Colombia’s social investment and alternative development strategy.
3. The Government of Colombia will work through the Red de Solidaridad Social, Ministries, and NGOs to increasingly provide municipal governments with the technical abilities to manage funds and carry out activities aimed at displaced persons, alternative development and poverty alleviation. Up to 150 communities, in areas where conflictive situations or illicit crop production have disrupted the provision of basic services, caused environmental degradation or where there is the highest incidence of poverty, will be selected over a period of two years to participate in a local government strengthening program. Local government leaders will be trained in governance skills. Further, the local governments will be trained to develop mechanisms to promote public participation in the decision making process and in resolving social and economic problems. With this training local leaders will be able to prioritize community needs, design and implement priority initiatives to meet basic service needs and utilize resources available in the most effective manner.
4. To maximize the effectiveness, local governments will work in partnership with the national government as well as local businesses and non-governmental organizations. Municipal governments will be encouraged to invest both local revenue and revenue from the National Treasury in conjunction with donor funds to support local organizations in addressing priority needs. The Government of Colombia will also invite the participation of international organizations at the municipal level as a means of mobilizing additional resources as well as establishing a means of independent verification of the local situation.
V. Peace Process
I. The Peace Process1. The armed conflict been waged in Colombia for more than thirty-five years. This Administration has initiated a process that aims at a negotiated peace agreement with the insurgency on the basis of territorial integrity, democracy and human rights, and which, if successful, would rapidly strengthen the rule of law and the fight against drugs throughout the country.
2. The peace process is one of the country’s top priorities. President Pastrana has assumed personal leadership of the government’s role, along with the assistance of the High Commissioner for Peace, appointed directly by the President. The Commissioner, whose position carries ministerial rank, works alongside economic and social leaders who are equally devoting their energies to ending the conflict.
3. The purpose of the distension zone, an instrument created by law 418 of 1997, is to guarantee the security necessary to advance negotiations with the insurgency. Within its powers the President can create as well as eliminate a distension zone, thereby making a reaffirmation of sovereignty by the State. It implies only the restriction of the presence of the Colombian armed forces and Police within the area and the suspension of warrants for arrest, without affecting the power of elected officials both at local and regional levels.
4. The distension zone created for the negotiations with the FARC is a sparsely populated area accounting for 0.25 percent of the Colombian population. Its historically low number of inhabitants is due to the fact that the territory is either mountainous or infertile grasslands and jungle. Given the temporary character of the distension zone, its duration is related to the advancement of the negotiations, without the possibility of interfering with free local elections. The National Government has created and directly pays for a civil police force which supports the mayors in each of the municipalities.
5. The peace process is also part of a grand alliance against narco-trafficking, corruption, and the violation of human rights, as part of the government’s resumption as the sole guarantor of law and order. For this to become both feasible and lasting, it requires complimentary support in the areas of security and defense, as well as a partnership against drug production and consumption and a development plan to create jobs and reach those most in need.
II. The Armed Conflict and Civil Society1. There are three main protagonists of the conflict. On the side of the guerrillas, there is the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and the ELN (Army of National Liberation), whose roots lie in rural agricultural and the cold-war, respectively. On the other side there are the illegal ¨self defense¨ groups, who seek an armed end to all guerrilla activities and political recognition for their organization. Finally, caught in the crossfire, are the great majority of Colombians, who often suffer at the hands of the other players.
2. The guerrilla movement has its roots in the traditional rural and political problems of Colombia and, also in part, in ideological capitalist-communist confrontation. With time, its fight to extend its territorial presence as a means to acquire military and political power has been financed by extortion and kidnappings, and more recently, from charges placed on coca leaf and paste obtained from intermediaries in the growing areas.
3. In the past thirty years Colombia moved from being a primarily rural country to an urban population, with more than seventy percent of its population in now in urban areas. With the end of the cold war, the public support that the insurgency had during the 1960´s, 70´s and 80´s has diminished to the point that the polls today show only a 4 percent backing. The guerrillas understand that, under the circumstances, they will not be able to take power by way of an armed struggle. Despite the country’s rejection of their ideology and, particularly, their methods, they continue to seek leverage through military means.
4. The peace process has been set up to allow society as a whole to play a central role. On the one hand they can put pressure on armed groups for a political solution to the conflict and respect for their internationally recognized humanitarian rights (IHR). On the other hand, they can present ideas and suggestions to help move the process along, and which can serve as a basis for future negotiations. More specifically, there is a consensus regarding the necessity to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict, to have a broad agenda, and to welcome the participation of the international community.
III. The State of Affairs1. The peace process has made real advances on several fronts. With the FARC, a distension zone was created as a safe haven for negotiations, and has helped both parties to formulate an agenda, a process which was completed by last May The government and the FARC have agreed on a commission to accompany the process, but its implementation has had problems. The process has stalled on that point but is hoped that an agreement on the commission will be reached soon.
2. With the ELN, the government has authorized a group of well-known Colombians to facilitate the liberation of the hostages, and has agreed to initiate, immediately after their liberation, direct dialogues that will permit a formula to call for a National Convention.
3. In the case of the illegal ¨self defense¨ groups, the government continues to fight them, although this does not imply that, with the advancement of the peace process, it is not ready to look for alternative peaceful ways that will dismantle their infrastructure and operations.
4. During the peace process, the Armed Forces and the Police must continue to strengthen themselves, in order to maintain an effective presence throughout the country.
IV. The Role of the International Community1. The role of the international community is vital to the success of the peace process. More specifically, Colombia requires support in two areas: diplomatic and financial The international community can act as moderator, mediator, overseer or, at a later stage, verifier of the process. In addition, it is very important that they energetically reject any and all terrorist actions and violations of IHR, and to apply pressure to keep the process moving.
2. In the field of bilateral cooperation, military and police cooperation stand out. Collective action by neighboring countries is not only less effective than bilateral action, but it can serve to obstruct the negotiating process. In this sense, to coordinate military and police operations and to improve border security, technological and equipment support would be of enormous benefit.
3. Referring to diplomatic action by neighboring countries, at the present stage, the Colombian government prefers bilateral dialogue and confidential consultations with countries interested in the process. Whatever form of international participation in the peace process takes, it must conform to norms established by international law and be acceptable to the Colombian government. It must adhere strictly to the principles of non-intervention and non- interference with respect to internal affairs of state, and must be undertaken after consultation with, and the support of, the Colombian government.
4. The Colombian government has set up a fund as a means of channeling international financial assistance directly to the peace process. This fund will be able to support projects designed to provide economic and social development to those areas hardest hit by the armed conflict. For this purpose a consulting group has, with the support of the IDB, been set to receive contributions made by various countries. These resources will be used to supplement those funds already allocated by the Colombian government.
5. A successful peace process will also
have a positive impact on counterdrug efforts as the Government of Colombia
will be able to expand law enforcement and alternative development programs
to those areas most involved in drug production. The insurgency and drug-trafficking
are problems which, though linked in certain ways, have distinct origins
and different objectives. The guerrillas operate under a revolutionary
political-military scheme that demands a negotiated solution—something
that can never be accorded to narco-traffickers
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