Peace Brigades International joins with 300+ organizations in call for an end to police violence in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

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CSPP lawyer Óscar Eduardo Ramírez.

On July 1, Peace Brigades International joined with 300+ organizations – including the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners, Educa Oaxaca, Witness for Peace, FIAN Colombia, Global Exchange, IFOR Netherlands, Protection International, RIDH, Latin America Working Group, and many others – in an urgent appeal to Colombian authorities on the right to life in the context of the ongoing social protests.

The statement was highlighted at the UN Human Rights Council during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

Óscar Eduardo Ramírez (a lawyer with the PBI-Colombia Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners/CSPP) stated:

“As emphasized in the outgoing Rapporteur’s report, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated social and economic inequalities and, if urgent action is not taken, we will face an epidemic of killings perpetrated by the police on an unprecedented scale.

The case of Colombia illustrates this trend. This statement is endorsed by a very large number of organisations around the world, deeply concerned about the brutal repression of protests over the past two months. As of 28 June, 83 people have been recorded as a result of the actions of the security forces and armed civilians in the framework of the National Strike.

Police, the Mobile Riot Squad [ESMAD] and the Army have used firearms with lethal ammunition in a widespread manner against protesters. Indiscriminate and excessive use of ‘less lethal’ weapons, including multiple projectile launchers, has also been documented.

Mr. Rapporteur, members of the Human Rights Council, we make an urgent appeal to urge the Colombian authorities to take the necessary measures to respect and guarantee the right to life in the context of the protests; to document and investigate, in accordance with the Minnesota Protocol, the multiple cases of arbitrary deprivation of life, identifying who was given the orders; and that those responsible be tried by a civilian judge and under no circumstances by a military court.

In the same vein, it is urgent to support the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in clarifying the more thacan 6000 extrajudicial executions under investigation, most of which were committed between 2002 and 2008, in order to ensure that they are not repeated.”

The video of this presentation can be seen on Twitter here or here (at 55:20). The text of the presentation and the list of 300+ organizations can be read here.

Ramírez, who highlighted this statement at the Human Rights Council, also spoke on June 3 at the PBI-Canada webinar about the national strike in Colombia.

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