PBI-Colombia accompanies Justice and Peace as Vice-President Francia Marquez visits Cacarica to acknowledge Operation Genesis

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 22, PBI-Colombia tweeted:

“#26 years after #OperationGenesis and 10 years after the sentence of the @CorteIDH [the Inter-American Court of Human Rights], the State carries out an act of forgiveness in #Cacarica before ethnic communities, victims #Cavida [the Community of Self-Determination, Life, and Dignity of Cacarica] and #Clamores accompanied by @Justiciaypazcol [the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace]. Important support from @IrelandColombia @SwedeninCOL [embassies] for peace in Colombia.”

On March 22, Vice-President Francia Marque tweeted:

“Yesterday I was accompanying the act of acknowledgment of responsibility of the Colombian State regarding the violation of #human rights against the communities of the river basin #Cacarica, Chocó, in the case ‘Operation Genesis vs. Colombia’. We took a step towards reparation and justice.”

PBI-Colombia has explained: “Operation Genesis included the participation of the Army, Navy, Airforce and National Police, in coordination with paramilitaries from the Cordoba and Uraba Self Defence Forces (AUC). The military and paramilitary operation resulted in over 70 crimes, including murders and enforced disappearances. As a result, around 3,500 people from the 23 communities of the Cacarica river basin were forcibly displaced.”

According to a 2003 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), the armed forces used bombs and machine guns against the inhabitants of the Cacarica river basin during a weeklong offensive.

That ruling found Colombia responsible for not preventing the 1997 displacement of thousands of Afro-Colombians and the brutal murder of Afro-Colombian campesino Marino Lopez Mena. During the incursion, paramilitaries killed Marino accusing him of being a guerrilla before capturing and beheading him.

WOLA has noted: “Operation Genesis formed part of a larger paramilitary political effort to displace Afro-Colombians from their territories to facilitate the entry and expansion of oil palm plantations throughout the department of Choco.”

Two years after their displacement, the communities of Cacarica obtained collective ownership of their lands, to which they returned in 2000. There, they established the Community of Self-Determination, Life, and Dignity of Cacarica (CAVIDA).

PBI has accompanied the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission since 1994.


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