Victims Call National Protest in Colombia
News from Colombia |
on: Wednesday, 6 February 2008
The National Movement of Victims, a Colombian coalition grouping human rights organisations, trade unions and family members of victims of human rights violations together, has called for a national demonstration on March 6th to protest against ongoing abuses by the Colombian Government and rightwing paramilitary death squads that are linked to the Colombian Army.
The demonstration, the slogan for which is "For the Disappeared, For the Displaced, For the Massacred, For the Executed – For the Truth", aims to bring together multiple sectors of Colombian civil society to draw attention to the fact that whilst the Colombian regime engages in an international public relations offensive to show an alleged 'improvement' in the human rights situation, the reality is somewhat different.
In their statement calling for the demonstration the Movement denounces the fact that almost 4 million people have been forced from their homes in Colombia, mostly by paramilitaries, and that these groups, often working together with the Colombian Army, have 'disappeared' at least 15,000 people and dumped their bodies in over 3000 mass graves or else thrown them in rivers or elsewhere. The statement goes on to mention the assassination of over 1,700 indigenous people, over 2,500 trade unionists and approximately 5,000 members of the political opposition – most notably members of the leftwing Patriotic Union party which now no longer exists.
The Movement also points out that despite an alleged 'demobilisation' by the paramilitaries in 2002, they have continued to murder civilians with impunity – at least 600 each year since they supposedly 'laid down their arms'. In the same period, an international mission recently reported, the Colombian Army also committed almost 1,000 extrajudicial executions of civilians.
The statement calls on people to march on March 6th in order to demand an end to these crimes. Justice for Colombia will post more news about the event on this website closer to the time.