Friday, 17 July 2009

News Round-Up

Two eye-rolling pieces of news from Colombia, typical of states which are attempting to play down or cover up human rights abuses.

Amnesty International is claiming that a record number of Colombians, 380,000, were displaced last year alone. But according to the government, they are "exaggerating". Moreover, we should all just forget about those unfortunate incidents where soldiers dressed up innocent civilians as guerrillas and shot them - better to move on, ok?

On, perhaps, a more positive note, Brazil is undertaking a search for the bodies of guerrillas fighters who disappeared during the 1964-85 dictatorship. The action itself is an interesting one, but families of the dead are understandably dismayed that the army itself is carrying out the operation.
Victoria Grabois, a sister, widow and daughter of members of the Araguaia guerrillas, told IPS that "It is emotionally impossible for us to participate with the army in the excavations to find our loved ones."

Grabois, a member of the Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais (No More Torture Group), said the decision to resume the search was prompted by the fact that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has asked the government to present explanations on the location of the remains of the victims and the circumstances of their deaths in early 2010.

The activist complained about the way the endeavour is being carried out. "It's basically being organised like a war operation, commanded by a general from an army brigade that operated in the jungle, where the military went to kill guerrillas," complained Grabois.
Controversy Surrounds Army Search for Guerrilla Remains (IPS)

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