At least 61 people have died since the start of social mobilization in late April in Colombia and the actions of the police are criticized.
The Colombian government pledged Thursday to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to shed light on 21 deaths that occurred during the social mobilization that has shaken the country since the end of April.
President Iván Duque “is fully committed to the conduct of all investigations (…) on the causes of the death of these 21 people for whom it has unfortunately been proven that they died in the context of the demonstrations”, said Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marta Lucia Ramirez after a meeting in Bogotá with the delegation of the Inter-American Commission.
The delegation of the IACHR, a Washington-based institution that depends on the Organization of American States (OAS), arrived in the country on Sunday to take stock of the human rights situation since the start of the social crisis. In particular, it met with conservative President Iván Duque, associations, victims and relatives of victims, as well as police officials, whose violent repression of demonstrators has been criticized.
600 denunciations of human rights violations
The United Nations, the United States, the European Union and several international NGOs have notably denounced the serious excesses committed by the security forces. At least 61 people have died since the protests began on April 28, according to the authorities and the Defense of the People, an independent public body responsible for ensuring respect for human rights. The latter also submitted to the IACHR a report listing nearly 600 denunciations of human rights violations during the demonstrations.
First targeting a tax reform project, since withdrawn, the protest then turned into a denunciation of government policy for a more egalitarian society in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Demonstrations take place every day across the country, more or less followed, accompanied by road blocks, and sometimes violent clashes between demonstrators and the police.
The arrival of the IACHR on Sunday coincided with the announcement by the Head of State of a reform of the police which notably provides for the creation of a “human rights department”, but without removing the supervision of the ministry. of the defense.
The IACHR will subsequently make “observations and recommendations,” said its president Antonia Urrejola. The government will receive these recommendations “with the will to continue to make improvements (…) so that the Colombian State is always a State which guarantees respect for human rights”, assured Marta Lucia Ramirez.