Sunday, 1 August 2010

Colombia: US Funding, Increased Civilian Murders

Several media sources have picked up on a study by the Fellowship on Reconciliation and the U.S. Office on Colombia which has found that Colombian army units which receive U.S. military funding have committed more extrajudicial executions of civilians.
The extrajudicial executions reviewed by the FOR/USOC report are mostly cases in which military units have killed civilians in order to inflate the body count of guerrillas they have supposedly killed in action. “The majority of cases we are analyzing are not misidentifications,” said John Lindsay-Poland of the FOR, but rather the deliberate targeting of civilians. “Success” in the anti-guerrilla fight is measured by kills, says Lindsay-Poland. “It is not about whether there is greater security for civilians or whether there is justice in the country.” [NACLA]
In other words, these are the so-called "false positive" cases.

This is a deeply concerning report which also raises questions about the legality of U.S. financial support in Colombia.

The report [...] studies the application in Colombia of the so-called Leahy Law, passed in 1996, which bans military assistance to a foreign security force unit if the U.S. State Department has credible evidence that the unit has committed gross human rights violations.

The Leahy Law is one of the main U.S. laws designed to protect against the use of U.S. foreign aid to commit human rights abuses.

"If the Leahy Law was fully implemented, assistance would have to be suspended to nearly all fixed army brigades and many mobile brigades in Colombia," Lindsay-Poland said.
Report Suggests "Correlation" between U.S. Aid and Army Killings (IPS)
Plan Colombia Linked to Increased Military Abuses (NACLA)
Colombia: US Military Aid May Have Sparked Civilian Killings (truthout)

You can also read the full report here.

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