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Ingrid Betancourt - four years captive in Colombia

Ingrid Betancourt - four years captive

International action needed for Colombian peace, hostage release

Today is the fourth anniversary of the kidnapping of former Greens presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, and her campaign manager Clara Rojas by FARC guerillas. Both remain captive with over 5000 other people, some held for more than eight years.

International action is essential to break the impasse in Colombia and the first step is to initiate a peace process with a humanitarian agreement and hostage exchange, Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

"Human rights abuses including kidnapping, murder, extortion and illegal land seizure are rife in Colombia," Senator Brown said.

"Colombia is second only to Sudan in numbers of refugees, with three million people forcibly internally displaced in the last three years."

In November 2005, 14 Greens from 10 countries including Australia and
Taiwan held the first Global Greens conference for the liberation of the hostages, a humanitarian accord and human rights in Colombia.

Today, Greens around the world including New Zealand, Japan, France and Colombia will mark the anniversary of Ingrid's kidnapping.

The FARC guerillas have refused all communication from Ingrid and Clara since August 2003 but both are believed to be alive.

"The situation in Colombia is intolerable but receives little attention compared with other humanitarian tragedies.

"Ingrid Betancourt symbolises the plight of all the victims and Greens globally are initiating a new campaign for international action on Colombia", said Senator Brown.

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