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The EU and Colombia: Betraying Responsibility

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Council On Hemispheric Affairs

Monitoring Political, Economic and Diplomatic Issues Affecting the Western Hemisphere

Memorandum to the Press 05.113
Word Count: 2600

The EU and Colombia: Betraying Responsibility

Analysis prepared by COHA Research Associate Julian Armington
Thursday 10 November 2005

- The EU is on the verge of sending financial support to implement the atrocious Colombian “Justice and Peace Law” to demobilize that country’s paramilitary groups.

- The law brings neither justice nor peace to a country which has suffered for decades, while granting impunity to paramilitary human rights abusers and assuring that massive crimes will be minimally punished.

- Despite widespread international denouncements of the law, the EU, under Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero’s distressing leadership, decided to go ahead and shamelessly pass a resolution in favor of the law.

- The move is just another example of the EU’s lack of relevance when dealing with the problems of Latin America, as evidenced in the past year with the cases of Haiti and Cuba.

In a deeply disturbing move for local and international human rights monitors, both the EU and Iberoamerican Community have passed declarations backing a controversial Colombian law that creates a legal framework for the partial peace process now fitfully being seen in the war-ravaged Andean nation. This event has afforded legitimacy, and even the proposal of considerable financial aid, on the part of the EU, for a law which otherwise has been widely viewed as granting impunity to criminals and human rights abusers, while doing little to secure a lasting peace. The declarations follow a summer of feverish lobbying by Colombian authorities, during which they managed to convince an international community which desperately wanted to find a basis for hope, to put their support behind a peace process that to date has produced only spotty results and fails to bring even a semblance of justice to the innocent victims of years of right-wing atrocities.
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