Colombia's rebels call for ceasefire amid violence

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-09 11:32:31|Editor: Lu Hui
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QUITO, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A delegation from Colombia's guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), insisted Thursday that it wanted a "bilateral ceasefire" with the government, as violence flared up in the northwestern Choco region.

The ELN is currently engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.

"We insist on our proposal for a bilateral ceasefire and a humanitarian agreement concerning Choco," the delegation said in a statement published on Twitter.

"Faced with such a complex reality Colombia is going through, humanitarian actions...are a needed priority to lower the intensity of the conflict and the impacts on the population," it added

ELN's reaction came after Human Rights Watch (HRW), a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, published a report Wednesday, blaming the guerrilla group for the violence in Choco and accusing them of violating the human rights of Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities in the area.

The report called on the Colombian government to demand that the ELN cease all attacks against civilians at once.

The HRW said that it was of great importance that President Juan Manuel Santos make the situation in Choco a priority for discussion during the ongoing negotiation.

The ELN delegation blamed the violence on an alleged increase in military actions, for which it said the government is responsible.

The ELN is the last active rebel group in Colombia after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's oldest and once largest rebel group, signed a peace deal with the government last year.