IACHR makes 40 observations to Colombian government regarding social protests – MercoPress



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IACHR makes 40 observations to Colombian government regarding social protests

Thursday, July 8 2021 – 09:33 UTC

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IACHR advised Duque against opposing roadblocks, which the president disagreed with

The Colombian government received 40 recommendations from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Wednesday following a visit to the country by an observation group.

The IACHR team has drawn up a report on the consequences of social protests since last April which have left and left dozens of people dead and injured.

One of the main suggestions was to ?? promote and strengthen ?? a “real national dialogue” to allow ?? all sectors ??? to be heard, in particular those most affected by historical, social and cultural discrimination.

The Colombian administration of President Iván Duque has also been called on to do whatever is necessary to “build public confidence”. and avoid at all costs the stigmatization of demonstrators by the authorities.

The IACHR delegation was on a working visit. between 8 and 10 June, a period during which it heard 302 testimonies and received testimonies from more than 500 people, including officials, victims and civil organizations.

With all this data, the committee found ?? the state’s answer ?? be “excessive and disproportionate”, especially with regard to the use of force, which in many cases has been shown to be fatal.

The IACHR based its report on numerous sources, but official data alone between April 28 and May 5 shows at least 51 dead, including 21 in the national strike, around 1,113 civilians injured, according to data provided by the Presidential Council for Human Rights and International Affairs, in addition to 18 people with eye injuries, according to the ombudsman’s office.

Consequently, the IACHR called on the Colombian State to “respect and guarantee the full enjoyment of the right to demonstrate, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and political participation of the entire population. “

The IACHR also suggested separating the police from the Ministry of Defense, to “consolidate and preserve security with a citizen and human rights approach”. and avoid any possibility of military prospects.

Duque has even been warned not to automatically ban roadblocks whenever a protest is announced, which is the bulk of the government’s justification for justifying the crackdown.

In this scenario, the IACHR also announced the establishment of a special human rights monitoring mechanism for Colombia which will contribute to the consolidation of peace in the various sectors of society.

Bogotá’s foreign ministry said it agreed with “some of the observations” by the Commission, but withdrew from the possibility of establishing the human rights monitoring mechanism, noting that it is not necessary.

Regarding the separation of the police from the Ministry of Defense, the Government replied that the Constitution establishes that this institution is “a permanent armed body of a civilian character”, which, according to official opinion, removes the concern of the military approach. .

The government also rejected the ?? suggestion of the alleged use of force against specific populations, ?? which was explicit in the report, and criticized the fact that some of the figures cited had not been verified, nor their sources.

The government differs in that blockades are generally a legitimate form of protest and only in specific cases can the state act. added the Foreign Ministry.

Duque even stressed that “no one can recommend that a country be tolerant of criminal acts” ,? or ?? acts of vandalism ??, or ?? low-intensity urban terrorism ?? and ?? blockages that violate the rights of citizens.

Meanwhile, the General Confederation of Labor of Colombia (CGT) and other labor organizations representing state officials staged a sit-in on Wednesday to demand that the government respect labor agreements. The demonstration which was to take place in front of the Ministry of Finance had to be held in front of the Banco de la Republica.

Union leaders said it was ironic that a government opposed to the blockades had just blocked access to the finance ministry to a peaceful and cultural protest.

Protesters criticized that Duque had approved and signed a pay hike for members of Congress far greater than that for nurses, teachers and other public officials. Why is the increase in state employees 0.19%, while the increase in lawmakers is 5.12% ?, asked Jairo Arenas, teacher and social communicator.

The protesters also demanded that the government abide by collective bargaining, which is a fundamental principle of the International Labor Organization.

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