World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Colombia: Human rights emergency looms

Colombia: As human rights emergency looms, action must be taken to protect civilians


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

21 February 2002 AMR 23/023/2002 32/02

As the army prepares to move into the demilitarized zone in the south of Colombia and the Colombian air force has started bombing targets in this area, after the collapse of peace negotiations between the government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Amnesty International reiterated its call for decisive action to protect the civilian population in this and other conflict areas.

The organization condemned Wednesday's hijacking of a commercial aircraft and the kidnapping of Senator Jorge Gechen Turbay which sparked the presidential decision to regain control of the demilitarized zone. If confirmed that FARC forces were responsible, this would represent a serious breach of international humanitarian law.

"The Colombian President publicly called on the armed forces to guarantee the safety of the civilian population during military operations to retake the demilitarized zone," Amnesty International noted. "However, there are fears that the necessary steps have not been taken to ensure their safety as army-backed paramilitary forces have been allowed to consolidate their presence around the demilitarized zone over the last couple of years and have threatened to move in behind the army to eliminate suspected FARC sympathisers within the civilian population."

"The strong paramilitary presence around the demilitarised zone, together with reports of a death list of at least 30 people living in the area are extremely alarming," Amnesty International added, calling for an investigation into these reports.

In the past, those accused of being "guerrilla collaborators" by the security forces and their paramilitary allies have often been targets of serious human rights violations. The civilian population of the demilitarized zone have frequently been stigmatized in this way.

"It is imperative that all necessary measures -- including action to confront and dismantle paramilitary forces -- are taken to protect civilians in the demilitarized area from reprisals at the hands of the Colombian army and its paramilitary allies," Amnesty International added, expressing further concern for the thousands of people who may flee the area in fear as the military retake control.

"A crucial step to guarantee the safety of civilians in the area would be granting access to international and national human rights organizations," the organization said, renewing its call for independent human rights monitoring in the demilitarized area. "The international community has a vital role to play at this time: to closely monitor the armed forces' efforts to comply with President Pastrana's call for civilian lives to be respected, to follow up on the government's own efforts in this respect and to insist on the full implementation of UN recommendations."

Amnesty International is also urging the FARC to respect the right to life and physical integrity of the civilian hostages and members of the armed forces and police held captive in the demilitarized area and to fully commit to respect international humanitarian law. The organization is also calling on armed opposition groups to refrain from further kidnappings, indiscriminate attacks which affect the civilian population and arbitrary and deliberate killings of those they accuse of siding with their enemies.

Once again, the organization reiterated the urgency of both sides reaching a humanitarian accord to guarantee that civilians are protected from the effects of the conflict.

*************

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news