Canadian-made Colombian police armoured vehicle detains delegations travelling to National People’s Assembly in Cali

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On July 17, Alejandra Wilches tweeted: “This morning on some roads in the country, the police detained different delegations heading to the National People’s Assembly in Cali!”

Digital media Kienyke also reports: “Caravans of cars and buses with dozens of people were stopped on different roads in the country because the National Police prevented entry to the department of Valle del Cauca on Saturday.”

This 2-minute video (in Spanish) with a Canadian-made police vehicle visible in the background further explains the situation.

And this tweet/video (with the armoured vehicle visible) notes: “Several delegations from each city (Popayan, Bucaramanga, Bogota …) going to the Asemblea Nacional del Paro are detained by the police who prevent them from going there to Cali.”

Canadian-made armoured vehicles

The police vehicle in the photos is a Canadian made Huron tactical attack and defense vehicle manufactured by the Toronto company INKAS.

The company announced the sale of these armoured vehicles to the Colombian national police in May 2014.

On June 24, RCI reported: “When asked about allegations regarding the use of Canadian military materiel in repressive acts against civilians in Colombia, Jason Jung told us that at the beginning of the unrest in that country, Canada’s Ministry of Global Affairs contacted the responsible Colombian authorities, who confirmed that Colombian law enforcement ‘is not using Canadian armored vehicles’ to intervene in that context.”

The Global Affairs spokesperson adds: “Canada is monitoring developments in Colombia and will take appropriate action if credible evidence of the inappropriate use of any controlled Canadian product or technology is identified, including to perpetrate or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law.”

UN concern

This morning, Clement Voule, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly, tweeted:

“I am concerned about the application of the decree adopted by the Govt of Valle del Cauca which, despite its exceptions, is currently limiting the arrival of human rights defenders in Cali, restricting their right to peaceful assembly in Cali.”

Popular Assembly in Cali

The National Popular Assembly is happening in Cali between July 17 and 20.

Its objective is “to continue strengthening popular power through a popular democratic exercise that guarantees the implementation of majority decisions and continue debating differences.” It is a follow-up to the first assembly in Bogota on June 6-8.

Upcoming march in Bogota, July 20

Contagio Radio has reported on other instances related to police actions and the National People’s Assembly.

It notes: “According to human rights organizations and several members of social movements, these actions of repression against the National People’s Assembly and against the delegations that are heading to march in Bogota on July 20, indicates that there has been an action of follow-ups and profiling against those who have participated in the National Strike.”

That article adds: “For this reason, they demanded respect for the right to protest by the government of Iván Duque and requested the accompaniment of the international community to prevent further violations of human rights such as the more than 4000 that have been denounced in these 80 days of national strike.”

IACHR and #MisionSOSColombia recommendations

The police action reported on Twitter this morning follows the reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH-IACHR) on July 7 and the International Observation Mission for the Guarantees of Social Protest and Against Impunity in Colombia on July 12 that documented serious concerns about human rights violations.

The 41 recommendations from the CIDH-IACHR can be found here. The 54 recommendations from the International Observation Mission can be found here.

CIDH President Antonia Urrejola told journalists: “The commission confirmed that, repeatedly and in various regions of the country, the response of the state was characterized by excessive and disproportionate use of force.”

Notably, the International Observation Mission’s report called on the international community to suspend the sale of military weapons and riot control material, refrain from financing sectors and companies that threaten fundamental human rights in Colombia and to activate the suspension clauses in case of violation of rights of the different free trade and investment agreements signed by Colombia.

PBI-Canada continues to follow this situation.

INKAS photo.

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