(Translated by Anne Boylon, a CSN volunteer translator)
THE DENOUNCEMENTS IN THIS REPORT CONCERNING THE CONFLICT IN COLOMBIA POINT TO THE SECURITY FORCES AS THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR 95% OF THE VIOLATIONS. SEVEN NEW REFUGEES, UNDER THREAT OR VICTIMIZED BY THE REPRESSION ARRIVE IN ASTURIAS.
OVIEDO, July 27 (EUROPA PRESS)
The fifth report put out by the Asturian Agency of Cooperation on the human rights situation in Colombia directly accuses the Army and Police of that country to be responsible for a major part of the atrocities. 95% of the denouncements included in this document point straight at the security forces.
Rafael Palacios, Director of the Asturian Agency of Cooperation, presented this report today in a press conference. He was accompanied by Javier Orozco, a Colombian refugee in Asturias and coordinator of the Asturian Program for Human Rights. Both were part of an Asturian delegation that visited the departments of Cesar, Meta, Guaviare, Santander, Casanare and Bogota from April 18 until May 2nd of this year.
In his summary of the report, Palacios pointed out the connection of the Police and Army with 95% of the denouncements which include assassinations, disappearances, kidnapping and tortures. He made particular reference to extrajudicial executions, which he called “State crimes,” for which the Armed Forces “have an unequivocal responsibility.” He indicated that 1,300 cases, in which more that 1,600 people have died, are currently being investigated.
The report indicates that there is a direct connection between the Armed Forces and the Police with the multitude of sexual abuse cases, executions, bombings of civilian populations, forced disappearances and the blockades of food and other supplies.
Continuing, Palacio pointed out that these same crimes are “committed at the same time in different parts of the country,” which demonstrates that “they were planned” at “superior levels.” He stated that the “modus operandi” was to offer work to people who, upon accepting the offers, relocated to the areas of the supposed work. However, upon their arrival at these places, they were murdered and later presented as members of the guerrilla.
The report also reveals the link between members of Congress and narco-paramilitary activity for which 72 parliamentarians have been investigated. This is in addition to the investigations of 250 other top-level political officials.
The report also denounces the proliferation of arbitrary detentions, usually of indigenous people, camepesinos, unionists or members of Human Rights organizations. Their detentions are for “supposed declarations made by former members of the guerrilla who are given incentives to collaborate” with the anti-terrorist fight. Those detained spend up to two years in prison.
This denouncement as well as those made the about the excessive use of force and repressive strategies used against the most oppressed sectors of society, women and Afro-Colombians, directly affects police behavior. As an example of this, Palacio reminded his audience that the Asturian delegation was present in the May 1st demonstration in Bogota which was “brutally repressed” by the police.
The report also reveals the appearance of new belligerent groups who are responsible for human rights violations which they commit with total impunity.
Also reported is a 24% increase in the number of Colombians displaced by the violence; the discovery last year of 410 mass graves from which there have been 39 exhumations to date; and 111 cases of disappearances.
The Asturian Agency leaves no doubt that these rights violations are due to the continuation “of an armed political conflict which has its origin in social inequality and whose prolongation has given rise to the phenomena of drug-trafficking and para-militarism.
In addition, the document reveals the violence committed against homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals; the huge problematical social inequalities, such as unemployment, poverty, hunger, the lack of electricity; and the inaccessibility of housing.
SANCTUARY AND REFUGEES
In the same press conference Palacios presented a group of seven refugees who had recently arrived in Asturias where they will be staying during the coming months. Together with two other refugees who were already in Asturias and who are in the last part of the program, they are nine altogether. Two of them are unionists and the rest are human rights activists. They have all been threatened and harassed and the family members of some of them have even been murdered.
Orozco said that these refugees are “in a situation of imminent risk which is why they are with us.” He then referred to the fact that one of the people who had once welcomed the Asturian delegation is now disappeared and another has been murdered.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621