The EU should find new solutions to human rights crisis in border region of Colombia and Venezuela
The human rights crisis along the border between Colombia and Venezuela is a regional challenge and cannot be solved by efforts on just one side of the border. A new report from Civil Rights Defenders “Bridging the border between Colombia and Venezuela – EU support for peace and human rights”, introduces a new cross-border approach to the situation, and includes policy recommendations to the EU and its member states.
With a new Colombian government in place – that has clearly stated its intention to improve the situation along the border – there is a window of opportunity for the EU and its member states to promote innovative and concrete policies that can contribute to peace and respect for human rights on both sides of the border.
The report recommends the European Union and its member states to build an infrastructure of cooperation along the border to foment cross-border collaboration between civil society organisations, democratically elected local and regional authorities, international NGOs, universities, and media outlets.
Need to act swiftly
However, the European actors, need to act swiftly in order to contribute in a constructive way. As the report shows, the situation along the border is very volatile. If the announced negotiation process with the ELN-guerilla and the re-establishing of relations with the Nicolas Maduro government are stalled, or the armed conflicts along the border turn more violent, the window of opportunities might close.
The report includes a brief description of the human rights challenges different actors face when promoting democratization and the respect for human rights along the border, and a description of how these challenges have their roots on both sides.
“The basic idea of the report is to show that there are no national solutions to the human rights crisis along the border. If the challenges are not confronted by all actors interested in peace and the respect for human rights on both sides of the border, they will just continue,” says Erik Jennische, Department Director for Latin America at Civil Rights Defenders.
Read the full report here.