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Greens In Black For Betancourt


24 February, 2004
Greens in black for Betancourt

Green women MPs will wear black in parliament today in solidarity with global Greens to mark the second anniversary of Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt's kidnapping by FARC guerrillas.

Our MPs will join Greens from around the world in expressing sorrow and anger that Ms Betancourt and her vice-presidential running mate Clara Rojas are still held hostage by FARC, and are now entering their third year in captivity.

"The capture of Ingrid Betancourt is a gross violation of international human rights," said Sue Kedgley.

"We call on the government to join us in expressing, in no uncertain terms, its dismay at the Colombian government for not resolving this terrible situation.

Metiria Turei added that "being a compassionate society does not end at our borders. New Zealand must be seen to be a responsible international citizen and join the international efforts to see justice restored in Colombia."

FARC guerrillas captured Ms Betancourt and Ms Rojas on February 23, 2002 amidst the Colombian Greens' (Partido Verde Oxigeno de Colombia) presidential campaign. Despite assurances they would be held for one year, the pair still remain hostages.

Ms Betancourt was an outspoken critic of the violence in Colombia as FARC and paramilitary forces loyal to President Uribe remain in a state of civil war. Despite the urging of the United Nations, Uribe's government has refused to enter peaceful dialogue with the guerrilla movement.

"Ingrid's courage is an inspiration to oppressed people around the world - but this terrible situation must not be allowed to continue," said Sue Bradford.

"Imagine what kind of country we would have if we invested in work, in production, in creation, in pleasure, in our families, the extraordinary energy we devote to death."

Ingrid Betancourt, 2002

ENDS


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