> Comunicado de prensa: Atentado contra Aída Abella, candidata a la presidencia de Colombia por la Unión Patriótica

Press Release: Attack against Aida Abella, Colombian presidential candidate for the Patriotic Union Party

Attack on Abella demonstrates that there are no guarantees for the political opposition in Colombia

Brussels, February 24, 2014. Oidhaco condemns the attack against Aida Abella, presidential candidate for the Patriotic Union Party (Unión Patriótica), and it extends its solidarity to her. Less than a week ago Oidhaco, along with 40 other organizations that together represent over 400 European and Colombian NGOs, sent a letter to President Santos denouncing death threats against Aida Abella, other members of her party and the Alternative Democratic Pole Party (Polo Democrático Alternativo), and demanding that the government protect opposition leaders.

 “This attack demonstrates that there are no guarantees for the political opposition in Colombia”, says Oidhaco spokesperson, Vincent Vallies. “The threats against Aida Abella were publicly reported. The Colombian government knew and did not provide her with the necessary protection to prevent an attack against her”, continues Vallies. “We demand that an investigation is carried out to determine who planned and carried out these threats and attack, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice, prosecuted and sanctioned”.

Aida Abella is a survivor of the systematic extermination of the Patriotic Union Party in Colombia. She lived in exile in Switzerland for 17 years after she was attacked in Bogotá and returned to Colombia in December 2013 with the hope of being able to take up politics again in her country. At least 4,000 members of her party and two presidential candidates have been assassinated. This cannot and must not be repeated. Peace will only be possible in Colombia if the democratic right of opposition is guaranteed.

“Therefore, Oidhaco once again demands that President Santos puts all the resources of the state into protecting the opposition and bringing to justice those who threaten and kill those who exercise their democratic rights”, says Vallies. “We also call on the European Union, Switzerland and Norway to publicly condemn this attack, express solidarity with political parties that are pinning their hopes on democratic processes in Colombia, and ask President Santos to ensure the right to political opposition, by protecting candidates before, during and after the elections to be held in March and May”. Vallies concludes.

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Press Release: attack against Aida Abella (PDF)

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