Written parliamentary Questions on Colombia to the Foreign Office Minister

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 14 January 2016

11 January 2015

Clive Efford Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will request representatives of the British Embassy to attend the public hearing in the case of the imprisoned academic Miguel Angel Beltran scheduled for January 2016 in the city of Bogota.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The British Embassy was notified by the Colombian authorities in August 2015 of the detention of Professor Miguel Angel Beltran, who is held at La Picota prison in Bogotá.

The United Kingdom cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country. We take every opportunity to encourage the Colombian authorities to allow access for all to legal representation, a fair trial without prejudice and minimise delays.

Clive Efford Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Colombian authorities about reducing the practice of locating military bases in rural villages.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached a number of agreements in September 2015, which I welcomed at the time. These agreements included one on rural development.

I also welcomed the commitment made by both sides to sign a final peace deal by the end of March 2016. We continue to offer advice to the government of Colombia on implementation of the Peace Process and the potential role of the military in the post conflict phase.

Clive Efford Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Colombian authorities regarding the status of the investigation into the murder of Benicio Flor Belardo Cazar on 11 October 2015 in La Meseta, Suarez.

Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

I was sorry to hear of the death of Benicio Flor Belalcázar. Whilst the United Kingdom cannot interfere in another country’s judicial process, we continue to encourage the government of Colombia in its efforts to prevent violence and threats against human rights defenders, trades unionists, political activists and civil society and to promptly investigate human rights violations.

As I have said to the House on a number of occasions, I am convinced that current efforts to secure peace represent the best prospect for the rights of all Colombians. This Government remains hugely supportive of this process.



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