NGO releases damning report on human rights in Colombia

Political assassinations, disappearances and forced displacements continue in Colombia despite progress.

NGO releases damning report on human rights in Colombia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Extra judicial killings, torture, displacement of local populations, arbitrary imprisonment and social cleansing continue in Colombia, according to a report released on Thursday, despite some progress on human rights.

There were more than a thousand cases of human rights violations reported in Colombia in 2013, according to the report from the Center for Investigation and Popular Education (Cinep), a Jesuit-funded Colombian non-government organization, released in their magazine “Noche y Niebla”.

These violations included a continuance of the false positives scandal and “genocide” of 48 members of the Patriotic March, a leftwing political party, over a period of two years.

“There is a clear pattern of persecution which aims to finish off the social and political movement of the Patriotic March,” said David Flórez, a spokesperson for the group in an interview with El Espectador newspaper.

The false positives scandal came to light in 2008 when it was revealed that members of the Colombian Armed forces had lured drug addicts and homeless people from humble districts in Bogota, with the promise of work, to border areas and then murdered them as if they were members of the ELN (National Liberation Army) or FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas.

The murders were to inflate the armed forces kill headcount. According to the report, between 1988 and 2012 there were a reported 971 cases of false positives resulting in the deaths of 1803 people. In 2013 there were another 10 cases.

The Patriotic March was singled out for special mention in the report due to their alleged links to the FARC guerrilla group which has been involved in peace dialogues with a government negotiating team in Havana, Cuba since 2012.

Their persecution has rekindled memories of the Patriotic Union Party, which was created in 1985 as a political wing to the FARC guerillas. In the years after its creation, an estimated 4,000 members were assassinated and hundreds were forced into seeking political asylum overseas.

“Many people are saying that the Patriotic March could end up being a repeat of what happened to the Patriotic Union, especially right now as there are peace negotiations and the Patriotic March has positioned itself as a potential political power once peace is signed,” said Javier Giraldo, of the Center for Investigation and Popular Education, to El Espectador.

The report also shows that there were 1027 protests in 2013, a number greater than in any other year since 1975.

Most cases of human rights violations were reported to have occurred during the agricultural strikes which lasted 20 days in 2013 and that were repeated in May 2014 to a lesser extent. The principal culprits for violations were the police (579 cases), paramilitary groups (294 cases) and the army (207 cases).

The report comes at a worrying time for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos who is seeking re-election on May 25. Scandals, protests and accusations of illegal payoffs have sapped voter confidence in the his mandate polls and his Social Party of National Unity and shows him now neck and neck with his closest rival, the Democratic Center’s Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, despite having led the polls for most of the duration of the campaign period.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2014, 11:07