PBI-Colombia accompanies NOMADESC and victims of police violence in Cali to a meeting with the Canadian Embassy
On August 4, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “Victims of police violence in Cali accompanied by @Nomadesc that include cases of arbitrary executions, torture, gender violence, threats and disappearances culminates a round of meetings with the diplomatic corps with @CanadayColombia. Victims demand no more impunity.”
Prior to the meeting with Canada, PBI-Colombia accompanied NOMADESC and the victims of state violence at meetings with Embassy officials from the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Norway and Ireland.
The Association for Social Research and Action (NOMADESC) tweeted that these meetings were “evidencing the systematic nature of repressive practices against social mobilization from 2005 to date by the public force” and that “since the murder of Jhonny Silva in 2005, the attempted murder of Duvan Villegas in 2019 and more recently, eye mutilation of Giovanny García, the arbitrary murder of Kevin Agudelo and Maicol Aranda in the 2021 national strike, citizen mobilization continues to be repressed.”
The hashtags in those tweets by NOMADESC included #NoMasESMAD (no more ESMAD riot police) and #ProhibidoOlvidar (never forget).
The recent Amnesty International report Cali: In the Epicenter of Repression highlights: “Since 28 April 2021, in the city of Cali, capital of the department of Valle del Cauca in western Colombia, there have been mass demonstrations. At the same time, the gravest human rights violations and crimes under international law committed in the country in this period have been concentrated in this city.”
Across the country, Temblores has documented that (as of July 15) there have been 1,661 victims of physical violence by the police, 90 victims of attacks against their eyes, and 35 victims of sexual violence committed by the public force.
Despite the Canadian government’s stated commitment to a feminist foreign policy, it has not called on Colombian President Ivan Duque to give an unequivocal order to the security forces to stop the sexual assaults and violent repression.
Instead, as when Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau met with Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucía Ramírez on July 14, Garneau generically noted: “Canada’s concerns regarding violence in Colombia, both in the context of social protests and against social leaders and ex-combatants working to implement peace.”
Garneau then “called on Colombia to keep its commitment to fully investigate and hold anyone who has violated human rights to account for their actions.” This despite the impunity that Human Rights Watch has documented.
Human Rights Watch has noted: “The police chief said on May 31 that the police had opened disciplinary investigations into 170 officers for possible misconduct during the current wave of protests. Of those, three are under disciplinary investigation for homicide and have been temporarily suspended, two have been suspended for other alleged infractions, and the rest continue their regular work.”
It has also reported: “The Inspector General’s Office has also failed to achieve meaningful progress. On May 10, the office told Human Rights Watch that it had opened 24 investigations of police abuses during the 2019 protests and another five during the 2020 protests. No officer had been disciplined and most cases remained in preliminary stages.”
This is the impunity that victims told Canada must be stopped.
PBI-Colombia has accompanied NOMADESC since 2011, and its president Berenice Celeita (who was present at the meeting with the Canadian Embassy) since 1999.