UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

22 activists killed in President Santos' first 75 days in office in Colombia‏

A report by human rights groups on Thursday states that at least 22 activists were murdered in the first 75 days of the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos,  http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12644-22-activists-killed-santos-government.html

The 21-page document "Words and Deeds. The first 75 days of the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the situation of human rights," details the death of five activists, seven indigenous leaders, a human rights defender, five trade unionists, two community educators and two members of the organization of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-gender individuals.

The report also documents the death of judge Pedro Elias Ballesteros Rojas who ruled on cases involving paramilitaries, and the murder of reporter Rodolfo Maya Aricape, who was a correspondent for an indigenous radio station.

The Interdisciplinary Group for Human Rights (GIDH) and other organizations in Washington presented these documents based on data from nearly 200 Colombian, European and North American human rights organizations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Maria Victoria Fallon of the GIDH said that the report demonstrate a "continuity in another language" in the approach to human rights of the current and previous Colombian governments. "There may be a change in style, but the situation must be seen in practice," Fallon added.

Fallon explained that the data in the reports refers to "registered cases" and that there may be more murders undocumented.

Referring to the report, the director of human rights in the Colombian Ministry of Interior and Justice, Maria Paulina Riveros, stated that the relevant government institutions will investigate the allegations "immediately."

Riveros added that "obviously we recognize that there continue to be very serious threats against human rights defenders, we say that progress is about to open the way to relevant consultation."

Santos assumed the presidency of Colombia on August 7, 2010.

It is well-known that the vast majority of these crimes are committed by ultra right-wing paramilitary groups acting with the approval, and often tacit support of, the Colombian government.

Please write to the Colombian embassy in your country and demand that the Colombian government take immediate action to protect the lives of activists, bring those responsible for the violence to justice, and disarm paramilitary groups. If you are in Britain, the Colombian embassy email address is elondres@cancilleria.gov.co.