Amnesty International today launched an urgent appeal to the EU to call on the newly inaugurated President Uribe of Colombia to prioritise human rights. In letters to the Danish Presidency (available at end of page) and other EU leaders the organization stressed in particular the need to end impunity, to confront and dismantle army-backed paramilitary organizations and to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders and other vulnerable sectors of the civilian population.
“The security forces, through their paramilitary allies, continue to systematically violate fundamental human rights in their efforts to defeat the armed rebels who in turn continue to threaten, kidnap and kill countless civilians”, said Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “The only way to reverse the spiral of violence and stop these abuses is by breaking the mechanism of impunity”.
Amnesty International expressed concern that the policies proposed by the new government to provide security may in fact further exacerbate the human rights crisis that has ravaged the country for nearly four decades. It fears that especially the creation of a million-strong civilian militia of informers to support the armed forces is bound to fuel rather than suppress the violence and drag the civilian population further into the conflict.
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