The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

Newsletter 16

Colombia must comply with human rights recommendations “The defence of human rights is a firm and unequivocal commitment”(1) . With these words the new President of Colombia announced his political good will to comply with human rights. Nevertheless, w

The defence of human rights is a firm and unequivocal commitment”(1) . With these words the new President of Colombia announced his political good will to comply with human rights. Nevertheless, we believe that his words are not enough. Despite frequent reports in the Colombian and international press, that the human rights situation in Colombia is improving, we believe that this is not the case. We recognise that the situation is not static, and that there are glimpses of change on the horizon. However, we cannot yet talk about improvements. The situation continues to be serious and of great concern, and should be viewed as such by both the Colombian Government and the European Union.

Newsletter 15

DAS: Operation Europe Although Colombia’s intelligence services have played an active role in the repression of civil society movements and human rights organisations for several decades now, the creation of the G-3 special group by the DAS

Although Colombia’s intelligence services have played an active role in the repression of civil society movements and human rights organisations for several decades now, the creation of the G-3 special group by the DAS (Administrative Department of Security) in 2004 marked a new departure.  From this date onwards, a systematic policy of phone-tapping, harassment and intimidation began, with its main victims being human rights defenders, Supreme and Constitutional Court judges, journalists and members of the opposition.  Because they were critical of government policies, all of them were treated like dangerous criminals and as a threat to state interests, and thus the subject of relentless persecution.

Newsletter 14

The flaws within the security policy Ever since he began his time in office in 2002, President Uribe’s policy has been to improve the country’s security and to end the armed conflict militarily.

Ever since he began his time in office in 2002, President Uribe’s policy has been to improve the country’s security and to end the armed conflict militarily. During his two terms, he has promoted controversial measures, several of which were found to be unlawful by the Constitutional Court and many of them criticised by the United Nations. They include initiatives such as the network of civilian informants, which involves the civilian population in the armed conflict, in total disregard of the fact that they are protected persons in line with the principle of distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and exposing these people to possible reprisals. This policy of informants as well as the policy of paying civilians rewards for information and soldiers for the detention or killing of members of illegal groups has been responsible for many acts of injustice, including mass arbitrary detentions and, even more seriously, systematic extrajudicial executions.