UK Government Hosts Colombia Counter-Insurgency Lecture

Justice For Colombia News | on: Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The British Foreign Office (FCO) last week hosted a counter-insurgency seminar at their Wilton Park conference centre in southern England. One of the keynote speakers invited by the FCO was Colombian Vice-Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzon. The invitation was made despite Amnesty International describing Colombia's counter-insurgency strategy as "characterised by the systematic and widespread violation of human rights."

Vice Minister Pinzon spoke at a session entitled "Colombia and Counter-Insurgency: Strategy, Accomplishments, Way Forward". The content of his speech, made on March 13th, has not been released.

The British press has reported on how the UK provides counter-insurgency assistance to the Colombian military, including training from the SAS Special Forces(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jul/09/colombia.davidpallister). Although the FCO describes the assistance as 'bespoke counter-narcotics training' the units benefiting are predominantly involved in counter-insurgency operations.

This is of concern to human rights groups due to the large numbers of human rights abuses perpetrated against the civilian population by the Colombian military during such operations.



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