Recommended reading on Colombia and Human Rights
Late Tuesday, Colombia’s Constitutional Court, part of its Supreme Court, decided by a 6-3 vote to strike down a defense cooperation agreement that Colombia’s government had signed with the United States in October 2009.
Publicado 18 August 2010
by Kirsten Begg – Prensa Rural
A report released by U.S. NGO the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) finds an “alarming link” between Colombian military units that received U.S. funding and cases of extrajudicial killings or “false positives” — in which civilians were murdered and presented as guerrillas killed in combat — committed by those units.
Publicado 5 August 2010
Upside Down World
“The Circle is Closing” is the title of the report just released by Colombian magazine Semana [i]. It refers to how indeed the circle is closing on the Presidential Palace in Colombia, where the headquarters of a “criminal enterprise” involving Colombia’s secret services (DAS), function under the direct orders of President Alvaro Uribe and his advisors. This latest report provides evidence, not only of involvement, but direction, orders and full control from the Presidential Palace and the President’s closest friends and advisors of illegal and criminal operations. This criminal machinery has no parallel in history and a lot is to be unveiled yet. The Government and the President initially denied, then expressed concern and finally indignation at the accusations and against the evidence. The testimonies and documents provided and exposed in this report (and added to the already abundant existing proof) are conclusive.
Publicado 11 June 2010
Income inequality in Latin America today
Starting in 2001, the UN Development Program’s annual Human Development Reports began to publish estimates of the income of the wealthiest and poorest 10 percent of countries’ populations. The ratio between what each tenth earns in a year offers a useful measure of social and economic inequality.
Publicado 10 June 2010
Upside Down World
A five month long mobilisation against BP in the Casanare region of Colombia has escalated after the Colombian army entered the BP installations with force this week and confronted workers who have been peacefully occupying BP installations since May 23 to protest BP´s failure to conclude negotiations with the workers and community.
Publicado 9 June 2010
Washington Office on Latin America
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) alerted the U.S. Congress to a death threat e-mail it received on April 14, 2010. The threat names some 80 Colombian human rights, Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, internally displaced and labor rights organizations and individuals. The e-mail received by WOLA and a number of other groups threatened that “as so called human rights defenders don’t think you can hide behind the offices of the Inspector General or other institutions… we are watching you and you can consider yourselves dead.” WOLA works closely with a number of these organizations and is deeply concerned for the safety of its partners.
Publicado 4 June 2010
The ACVC is a grassroots rural workers/farmers Organisation (Asociación Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra) that works in the protection of land rights issues, the enforcement of Human Rights and local and regional development through the strengthening of the community’s social fabric in three main areas in the Cimitarra River Valley area of the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia.
Publicado 3 June 2010
A former police major, Juan Carlos Meneses, has alleged that Uribe’s younger brother, Santiago Uribe, led a fearsome paramilitary group in the 1990s in this northern town that killed petty thieves, guerrilla sympathizers and suspected subversives. In an interview with The Washington Post, Meneses said the group’s hit men trained at La Carolina, where the Uribe family ran an agro-business in the early 1990s.
Publicado 25 May 2010
Gimena Sanchez, Senior Associate for Colombia at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), says that despite the fact that Colombia is not a priority for the Obama administration, U.S. policy in the country is wreaking havoc in the Andean nation in a myriad of ways.
Publicado 12 May 2010
Central Workers’ Union
The Central Workers’ Union of Colombia (CUT) denounces before the national and international community the assassination of four educators affiliated with the Teachers’ Association of Cordoba (ADEMACOR).
Publicado 5 May 2010
por Albeiro Rodas
A paramilitary group under the name of Los Rastrojos (The Stubble), threatened different NGOs of Human Rights in Colombia. The threats that circulated through the Internet, were dated April 10.They did an exhaustive and long process of investigation, they said in their communicated codified as No.003, to different organizations of human rights, associations of displaced people and unionists of the states of Nariño, Valle, Cauca, Putumayo, Risaralda, Quindío, Tolima, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Meta, Boyacá and Antioquia, according to their own declaration. They declared to the Colombian public opinion that those organizations are related to guerrilla groups. Los rastrojos claim that those NGOs are allegedly defending the human rights.
Publicado 27 April 2010
Ipo informes: news, articles, stories
By International Peace Observatory
International Peace Observatory condemns actions by the Colombian Army’s Thirtieth Brigade on September 7, 2010, in the municipality of El Tarra, Norte de Santander department. During a fact-finding mission to investigate incidents that took place in El Tarra on August 15, members of the Thirtieth Brigade filmed, detained, and made unfounded accusations against IPO volunteers and members of the fact-finding mission. We would like to express our concern over the use of these irregular procedures, particularly the unfounded accusations that were made. In addition to violating Presidential Directive 07 of 1999, these accusations put those Colombian and foreign civilians who were present at risk, by involving them in the conflict.
Publicado 22 September 2010
by International Peace Observatory
International Peace Observatory (IPO) is an organization offering international accompaniment and working to promote the respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Colombia. IPO would like to denounce that on July 22, the Colombian Army detained two IPO members for an hour and illegally registered their personal information. The Thirtieth Brigade’s “Number 10 Energy and Highway” Battalion detained the two volunteers at the Military Base La Esmeralda, in the Municipality of Convención, located in Norte de Santander.
The two volunteers were in the region accompanying a delegation organized by the Catatumbo Farmers’ Association (ASCAMCAT) to attend the event in Bogotá titled: The Patriotic March for the Second Independence of Colombia.
Publicado 2 August 2010
by International Peace Observatory
International Peace Observatory (IPO), an organization made up of internationals working to defend human rights in Colombia, publicly condemns the military attacks carried out by the Israeli Army during the night of 31 May 2010 in international waters against the the “Freedom Flotilla”. The Freedom Flotilla was a convoy of six solidarity ships sailing in solidarity with Gaza. It was led by the former passenger vessel Mavi Marmara and was carrying almost 800 people of 40 nationalities.
This “Freedom Flotilla” was carrying 10.000 tons of humanitarian aid, including medical and school supplies, building materials, more than five hundred electric wheelchairs, one hundred prefabricated houses for families who lost their homes in the invasion, and food supplies.
According to the available information there have been nine deaths among the activists who were traveling on the ships. However, Palestine solidarity organizations have denounced that the Israeli Army has hindered the release of information about the incident.
Publicado 8 June 2010
Hasan Dodwell and Jaume Fortuño
For President Uribe Velez, human rights defenders are “politically interested individuals who hide themselves behind the banner of human rights and ultimately serve the cause of terrorism.” During his Presidential reign this practice of accusation and criminalisation of all those who criticise the government has been constant. Both national and international organisations that work in the area of human rights have suffered accusations of being “the political arm of the guerilla” and of acting as “spokespersons for terrorism with the aim of discrediting the state.”
Publicado 12 May 2010
By International Peace Observatory
This video about the Humanitarian Refugee Camp in Catatumbo has been made by IPO with the intention of helping ASCAMCAT and the farmers of Catatumbo to communicate this process. But also to show our support and solidarity, and pay tribute to all the people who are making it possible for us to accompany and be a part of the Refugee Camp, the People’s Hearings and MIA, and the farmers’ resistance.
Long live Catatumbo!
Publicado 19 April 2010
by Eric Schwartz – IPO
In the rural farming villages of the El Castillo municipality, in the Meta department south-east of Bogota, the Colombian government has made its presence felt more with war than social programs. In this forgotten corner of the Alto Ariari region, much of the limited social infrastructure that exists was built through the collective efforts of the farmers.
Publicado 24 March 2010
By Eva Lewis – IPO
On January 9th through 22nd the Farmers Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) held its second annual Ecological camp. The event took place in the Magdelena Media region in the Southern part of the department of Bolivar and the Northeast part of the department of Antioquia, and was attended by more then 1200 people from all over Colombia. Although the event was generally a success, the final day was marred by the coordinated efforts of police, military and paramilitaries to disrupt and intimidate.
Publicado 12 March 2010
By Eva Lewis
Negotiations between government officials and the Catatumbo Farmers Association (ASCAMCAT) crumbled this month when the government withdrew from the negotiations process. The break came during the second Peoples Hearing, held on December 3rd through 5th in Teorama, Norte de Santander, where farmers from all over the Catatumbo met with local, departmental and national officials to address the myriad social problems plaguing the region. ASCAMCAT has made clear that they will continue with the remaining People’s Hearings scheduled to take place in the different municipalities of the Catatumbo region, with or without government participation.
Publicado 17 February 2010
The International Peace Observatory declares profound indignation to national as well as international organizations for the mass detentions suffered by the peasant community of Catatumbo, North Santander, on the 6th and 7th of February 2010. Army agents detained 12 people from the regions of Teorama and Convencion.
The people detained are Diosmel Galvis Vergel, Roimar Carrascal, José de Dios Benítez, Edilson Márquez, Gabriel Quientero, police inspector, Aleida Angarita, ex president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (Community organization) of San Pablo, Jesus Antonio Quintero Salazar, José Alberto Quintero Salazar, Olinto Salazar Pabón, Diorgen Acosta, Héctor Saúl Carrascal, Neyder Carrascal. They are all members of the community and workers in the region. They are accused of rebellion, terrorism, and intent to commit crimes against the state.
According to the community, the agents from the Fiscalia (District Attorney’s Office), CTI, Dijin, and the National Army were accompanied by informants, reinserted guerillas, who accuse the community leaders of being auxiliaries of the insurgency. Unfortunately, in Colombia, what is known as “False Positives,” is a common practice used to silence those who fight for justice as well as to create fear and uncertainty in forgotton and abandoned areas of the country.
Publicado 12 February 2010
By Eric Schwartz – IPO
In the foothills of the Andes south of Bogotá Colombia, the farmers of the Alto Ariari region of the Meta department, have lived through more than two decades of state violence. Through campaigns of selected killings, torture, and threats, the Colombian army and their allies, the right wing paramilitary groups, have attempted to weaken the once powerful social movements of the Alto Ariari. The most stunning example was the extermination of the left-wing Patriotic Union Party from 1985 to 1996, in which hundreds of party activists and elected officials in the Alto Ariari alone were viciously killed. In the face of this repression, justified by the Colombian state as a part of the war on the left-wing guerrilla groups, the farmers of the Ariari have refused to abandon their land and have continued to organize for their rights.
Publicado 8 October 2009
By Eric Schwartz – IPO
The U.S.-made bomb that killed David Sanes in 1999 wasn’t dropped during a bombing raid in Iraq or Sudan. Sanes was killed while working in his hometown on the small island of Vieques, part of the United States colony of Puerto Rico. For over 50 years, the U.S. Navy had used two thirds of Vieques as a bombing ground, causing chronic health problems and environmental devastation. David Sanes’ death unleashed a mass civil disobedience movement to demand the closing of the bombing range. Local fishermen entered the bombing range by sea, while hundreds of local residents and supporters cut through the military fences to occupy the range, forcing the Navy to stop the bombings. Each time the protesters were hauled off the bombing range by U.S. troops, they managed to come back a few days later. In 2003, after a long campaign that won strong backing from Puerto Rican social movements, the U.S. government announced that the military would leave Vieques.
As the United States continues to expand and fine-tune its military presence around the world, people in places like Vieques keep struggling to keep U.S. bases out of their fields and their cities. The movements against foreign bases, which coordinate their campaigns through the international “No Bases Network”, confront justifications for the bases as diverse as their countries. In South Korea, a network of bases that is being re-structured to confront an increasingly powerful China is still justified with the threat of communist North Korea. After the U.S. military delivered aid to victims of the 2004 tsunami in Asia, the U.S. revived an out-of-use base in Thailand, saying that the bases might be needed for future humanitarian relief efforts. In Iraq, we are told that the bases are part of the fight to defend democracy. The US Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs explains that “in some cases, proximity to an American base provides a local window to host-nation forces to observe civil-military relations and to demonstrate how respect for human rights is critical to a functioning democracy.”* Meanwhile, Colombians are given a two-for-one deal, with a growing U.S. military presence that promises to defeat rural guerrillas and combat drug-trafficking at the same time.
Publicado 1 October 2009
Read more IPO Articles and Reports