PBI-Colombia accompanies Nomadesc as it asks Canadian Embassy not to assist the Colombian police with equipment
On December 1, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “The Canadian embassy @CanadayColombia visits the office of @Nomadesc in Cali. To talk about the causes of the protests and learn first-hand about cases of police violence. Nomadesc requested guarantees that Canada will not assist the Colombian police with equipment.”
Amnesty International has reported: “Since 28 April 2021, mass demonstrations have taken place in the city of Cali.”
Their report highlighted: “At least 28 people were killed between 28 April and 28 June 2021 as a result of the unlawful actions of the security forces. In addition, [human rights organizations] have documented at least 90 cases of eye injuries and 28 cases of sexual violence in the context of the demonstrations.”
Requests to stop exports to the police
This past May, the PBI-Colombia accompanied Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) asked Global Affairs Canada to stop any technical assistance, aid, logistical or financial support to the Colombian army and police.
CREDHOS stated: “We are calling on the international community to ensure that logistical or financial support to the police and national army is stopped because right now they are attacking the people and we don’t want that to continue.”
The following month, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Ketty Nivyabandi stated: “Canada must immediately cease the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of equipment that could be used against civilians.”
Canadian armoured vehicles sold to the Colombian police
The Toronto-based company INKAS sold four Huron tactical attack and defense vehicles to the Colombian police in 2014.
In April 2015, PLANT also reported: “The manufacturer is still building behemoth armoured personnel carriers (APCs). In fact, there’s a tendered order for 26 of its Huron vehicles, at about $450,000 a pop, for the National Police of Columbia.”
That article adds: “The Huron will be outfitted with a cannon to wrangle unruly rioters with foam, tear gas, dyes and water.”
Subsequently, Canada exported $458,318.87 in “military goods” to Colombia in 2020 that fall under category 2-6 of “Ground vehicles and components”.
While the Global Affairs Canada report doesn’t specify the end use of those components, it’s possible these parts are what keep the Canadian-manufactured Colombian police armoured vehicles operational.
On July 17 of this year, at least one of those Canadian-made armoured vehicles was used by the Colombian police to detain delegations travelling to Cali for a National People’s Assembly related to the national strike.
We continue to express concern about this situation.
The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied Nomadesc since 2011 and its president Berenice Celeita since 1999.
Canadian armoured vehicle stops delegations travelling to Cali on July 17, 2021.