Saturday, 13 December 2008

Colombia Round-Up

By all accounts, Colombia is the human rights disaster zone of Latin America. A string of international speakers at the UN Human Rights Council made this more than clear this week:

Denmark's delegate also mentioned the widespread use of torture by the Colombian security forces, and called on Bogotá to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Canada stressed the gravity of the violations committed in Colombia, highlighting the problem of extrajudicial executions. Ireland referred to the same abuses and expressed concern that the murders are attributed to the Colombian armed forces.

Australia, in turn, reported that members of the armed forces maintain links with paramilitary groups or condone their actions.

Belgium expressed concern over Colombian government statements that cast doubt on the independence of the Supreme Court.

Spain, which had recently backed some of rightwing President Alvaro Uribe's human rights policies, distanced itself and showed concern about the turn of events in that area.

The Spanish delegation recommended that the Colombian government engage in dialogue with major sectors of civil society, with "both sides dropping stigmatising talk and unfounded accusations."

The Uruguayan representative recommended that the Colombian government give strict orders to the security forces to avoid designating as "terrorists" human rights activists and members of non-governmental organisations.

Harsh Language for Colombia at UN Review (IPS)

Colombian human rights workers are pleased at the international attention:

Activists Celebrate Being Heard at UN

Meanwhile, Upside Down World has a wide-ranging article on Colombia's shifting rights situation:

Social Conflict Replaces Warfare

Oh, and to end on a bizarre note, Pablo Escobar's brother has announced he's found the cure for AIDs. He's not alone in this belief, as it happens: President Jammeh of Gambia thinks he can too. And he's running a country.

No comments: