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Colombia: Amnesty condemns death of hostage

Colombia: Amnesty International condemns death of hostage


* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

27 October 2000 AMR 23/086/2000 206/00

Amnesty International today deplored the death of a hostage who was being held by the EjJrcito de Liberaci\n Nacional, (ELN), National Liberation Army.

On 17 September 2000 on the road between Cali and Buenaventura, department of Valle del Cauca, the ELN abducted over 60 people. Many were subsequently released, whilst 25 remained captive. Carlos Alberto GarcRa is the second of the 25 people held hostage to die. Carlos GarcRa reportedly died of an untreated ulcer. His death follows that of Doctor Miguel Nassif GarcRa who died on 10 October. Reportedly, the doctor, who was seriously injured during captivity, was released by the ELN, but later died of his injuries.

These deaths highlight the urgency of taking effective measures to ensure that the civilian population is removed from the conflict. Amnesty International backs the repeated calls made by the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia for both sides in the conflict to reach a humanitarian agreement. The organization urges the Colombian government and the parties to the conflict to urgently discuss and to reach and implement a verifiable agreement to fully respect fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law.

Amnesty International urgently calls on those responsible to respect the life and physical integrity of the captives, and for their immediate and unconditional release. The taking of hostages and kidnapping of civilian non-combatants violates one of the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. It constitutes an unacceptable attack against the fundamental right to life, integrity of the person and liberty.

Background Information Kidnapping in Colombia is reaching epidemic proportions. Over 2000 people are kidnapped every year, of these about one half are kidnapped by armed opposition groups and army-backed paramilitary organizations. It is estimated that of the over 2000 people kidnapped between January and August 2000, 147 were killed or died in captivity.

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