Bogota, Jun 8 (EFE).- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began Tuesday its review of the situation in Colombia after a month and a half of protests marked by serious complaints against the public force, vandalism and delicate acts of violence between armed civilians and police.
This review, which will end Thursday, seeks to listen to victims of alleged human rights violations and their families to receive their testimonies about the attacks they have suffered during the mobilizations that began Apr. 28 against Ivan Duque’s government.
The first day’s agenda included private meetings with Duque in Bogota, representatives of the government and various ministries, as well as meetings with civil society in the capital of the country and in the city of Cali, where the biggest incidents have occurred.
“The commission delegation led by its President Antonia Urrejola, met with [Duque], who welcomed the working visit. On the occasion, an open dialogue was held on the situation of human rights in the context of the protests,” the commission reported Tuesday.
The commission will review the accusations that fall mainly on police officers for alleged disproportionate and indiscriminate use of firearms, homicidal violence and attacks on protesters, at least a hundred cases of disappearances that remain open. These also include abuses against the press and the medical mission that has been the target of hundreds of attacks and the effects of the blockades.
The government defended complaints against the police Tuesday saying Colombia is a country in which the rule of law and institutional strength are human rights guarantees of respect, peaceful protest and justice. It said it will be the guarantor of the commission’s visit and will give access to all the information necessary for the mission to carry out its work.
Vice President and Chancellor Marta Lucia Ramirez said in the meetings that the government is the guarantor of citizen expressions, but will not allow criminality carried out by “a minority group of people who took advantage of legitimate and peaceful protest.”
“The Colombian State is within its right and above all in the obligation to protect the citizenry, to protect this democracy, public goods and also private property that have been under siege during these six weeks,” Ramírez said during a public statement.
She added that “it is not true” that the country has “a police force that persecutes the demonstrators or that prevents demonstrations,” since the uniformed men “have only intervened when necessary due to the violence.” EFE