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Colombian government denounced for violation of human rights

Eliecer Jimenez Julio | 31.03.2014 22:49 | Analysis | Repression | Terror War

The continuing serious violations of human rights, the lack of guarantees to political and social opposition and the lack of international standards of the Colombian government were denounced yet again and continued to generate great concern among international NGOs and the participants who made up the 25th session of the Human Rights Council UN in Geneva, Switzerland

At the UN: Colombian government denounced for violation of political and human rights

By Eliecer Jimenez Julio *; Geneve, Switzerland.

The continuing serious violations of human rights, the lack of guarantees to political and social opposition and the lack of international standards of the Colombian government were denounced yet again and continued to generate great concern among international NGOs and the participants who made up the 25th session of the Human Rights Council UN in Geneva, Switzerland. These violations compare negatively with other states of the world that perpetually kill torture, imprison, displace, exile and physically and legally pursue their countrymen who make up a peaceful opposition.
This was demonstrated in the various interventions that took place on Thursday 19 March during the “Criminalization of Social Protest " panel that had as exhibitors delegates from Colombia , the Philippines and the Western Sahara and was organized by France Libertés: Danielle Mitterrand Foundation headed by Christian Viret and Bandettini Oretta in collaboration with the ON Y VA Association "Globalize Solidarity".

The Rev. Jerome Channels Baris of the United Christian Church of the Philippines , former political prisoner Colombian Fredy Julian Cortez and a representative of the human rights defenders of Western Sahara, reported to those present the difficult and dramatic instances of murder, torture, persecution and imprisonment of thousands of the opposition in each of their countries. The event organizers stressed the necessity to join forces with as many NGO human rights defenders, to make visible to the world these serious events and continue to make representations to the UN itself so that governments around the world interested in the subject can call to attention the Philippine and Colombian governments to respect human rights and democracy.

Former Colombian political prisoner Professor Fredy Julian Cortes Urquijo, who is in exile in Belgium, during his exposition showed several posters of political, social and cultural leaders of the Patriotic March, Patriotic Union, Communist Party and others who are in various Colombian prisons such as Huber Ballesteros, Francisco Toloza, David Ravelo, Joaquín Pérez and university singer Carlos Lugo, among ten thousand Colombian political prisoners. He made a gritty story about the way the leaders of the political and social opposition in Colombia have been being hounded, no matter if they are peasants, students, intellectuals, journalists, academics, songwriters, etc. . . .

The academic said that, "the struggle for democracy and social rule of law enshrined in the Constitution of 1991, has hidden enemies in militarism, in the drug trade and gangs, in the powerful families for whom an open democracy or humanistic or social policies that for decades the people of Europe have enjoyed would not suit. Families dressed as democrats who play war with the blood of the children of poor families while their children wander abroad comfortably and enjoy the ill-gotten wealth of their parents. It was that privileged class which broke the extermination of the Patriotic Union movement and the Communist Party and that massacred with impunity over 5,000 of its militants and forced many others to safeguard their life in exile as in the case of the Colombian- Swiss citizen Aida Abella, current vice presidential candidate in Colombia, and who left others with little choice to join the ranks of the armed insurgency. These privileges cannot be touched, they have told us. But the Colombian people in their eternal dignity resist in various ways. And in that walk, hundreds of thousands of men and women, popular fighters and human rights defenders, have spilled their blood, have been displaced from their land or have spent some time in their lives accused or convicted of the crime of rebellion."

Referring to the dismissal that the national government performed this week against the leftist leader Gustavo Petro as a popular mayor of Bogotá, he said, "Petro, who was a guerrilla in the eighties, and political prisoner, and who was elected by popular vote, was removed from office yesterday for standing up against the dark interests of the Colombian elites despite having received precautionary measures by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. This situation proves once again the lack of guarantees for the opposition policy in Colombia."

Professor Cortes, evoked a country at peace to those present, "I wish I could tell you, I come from a country that has managed to make peace, and that the war that has hit us for over 60 years has finally ended, and now the existence of a leftist political party is possible, and that the traditional opposition parties participate on equal terms in the political arena without being criminalized and persecuted. That in our country the bullets of the rifles were silenced, and soldiers and guerrillas would never be killed in the battlefield , that the war was no longer an alternative source of employment for the poor, and that the Colombian mothers cease to bear more children for war, instead they are finally borne so that our farmers have people to cultivate land and live peacefully in their land without fear of paramilitary terror or militarism and no longer need to grow illicit crops such as coca to survive. That old resources invested in the war are now invested in the education of thousands of young students, in health, in opportunities other than to be used in an armed group, that our great wealth exploited for centuries and that still persists in our land, belonged to us and ceased to be plundered by multinational empires that displace farmers, exploit our workers and damage our environment ; that in our country no longer trade unionists and thinkers, academics and critics, and alternative journalists are killed or pursued,. I would like to tell you in this scenario, that in our country we can think in a different country without fear of being silenced or silenced in a prison, or exiled from our land, or worse, physically disappeared.

But I cannot. I come like many Colombians from part of the Colombian Diaspora of thousands of Colombians forced to emigrate due to our divergent thinking."

With anguish and concern reflected in the faces of those present in the hall of the UN, as a result of the story of the former Colombian political prisoner they learned of the inhumane conditions and overcrowding in the prison population, of how the prisoners food "has become a business for local elites where huge profits are made selling food to persons deprived of liberty " and situation of health in the prisons "reflects the national crisis in the sector which was ceded to private hands that are profiting from the disease suffered by Colombians. If prisoner’s health is worthless, it is not good business to keep a convict alive as it is costly for the prison system. So many prisoners die in prison due to lack of attention, as in the case of Ramón Emilio Mallarino , who died March 18 due to lack of medical care, which spent the previous day lying on the floor of the medical centre without being attended to."

Regarding political prisoners he said, "They are subjected to serious violations of their rights at the time of capture and are often taken as war trophie s and raped by the security forces.”

Referring to the peace process and the continuity of the social struggles in Colombia, Julian Cortes said: "This peace process should be strongly embraced by the UN, because on it weighs powerful militarist interests who live for war and the tragic humanitarian situation in Colombia and who do their best to make this not culminate successfully. But such support should not only be expressed but put forward as a demand that the Colombian government stop the persecution of organizations and leaders of social movements of the Colombian left who are the only real bet to win the peace which the country needs. We need international solidarity expressed as a strong support for the peace-building that means a greater guarantee of human, civil and political rights of Colombians. Tell us persons of the UN, if under current conditions Colombians can speak out on the streets, if we can organize unions, to participate freely in politics, or think differently without feeling persecuted. Today the Colombian countryside and the streets are filled with indignation, but despite institutional repression people insist on the possibility of building peace and true democracy in Colombia. Our struggle, the struggle of the Colombian people is not terrorism, it has a name: it is called dignity."

* Colombian journalist exiled political

Eliecer Jimenez Julio
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