CSN Statement on the Colombian demonstrations

Madison, February 4, 2008

COLOMBIA SUPPORT NETWORK (CSN) applauds the popular expression  of Colombians against violence and for peace. Our organization also has long criticized  the taking of hostages by guerrilla organizations in Colombia, and had often specifically condemned the FARC in this respect. We deplore that the FARC has kept hostages in abysmal conditions. We renew our call upon the FARC to release all hostages they are currently holding and to renounce the taking of hostages in the future.

    With respect to the public demonstrations against the FARC planned for February 4, 2008, however, we are concerned that these demonstrations not draw attention away from the human rights abuses of paramilitaries and the frequent collaboration of Colombia’s military with these paramilitary operations and  indeed human rights violations on their own.  We are also concerned that the planned demonstrations not lead to  an increased support for war and intolerance  of efforts  at a negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict.

    We support efforts at a Humanitarian Agreement under the terms  of which FARC hostages can be freed. We call upon the Colombian government to support the efforts at achieving a prisoner/ hostage exchange which we believe can be a beginning point for negotiations of a peace agreement to bring an end to the decades of civil conflict which have brought so much suffering to so many Colombians.

                                                                        COLOMBIA SUPPORT  NETWORK

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