Protests in UK about invitation to Alvaro Uribe to talk about the Colombian peace process

28.10.2013 - Pressenza London

Protests in UK about invitation to Alvaro Uribe to talk about the Colombian peace process
(Image by Alvaro Uribe, Picture by Wikimedia Commons)
Canning House and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) have invited former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, to speak on 31 October about “What Price is Peace in Colombia?”
A number of Human Rights and Latin American organisations are staging protests and circulating a petition to prevent this event on the grounds that he is currently under investigation in Colombia for sponsoring paramilitary death squads. He is due to appear before a parliamentary commission to be questioned about these accusations but has excused himself on account of the present trip.
A letter sent to the ILAS by the protesters states that “Throughout his political career Uribe has been repeatedly linked to paramilitary groups. According to the internationally renowned Colombian human rights defender Father Javier Giraldo, Alvaro Uribe ‘orchestrated the coordination between the Army and the paramilitary groups that resulted in 14,000 extrajudicial executions during his term of office. The strategies which he developed to ensure impunity for those who…committed crimes against humanity will go down in history for their brazenness.’

“These extrajudicial executions include around 3000 ‘false positives’, cases in which civilians (mainly rural peasants) were murdered by the Colombian army then dressed in military fatigues and presented as guerrillas fallen in combat. A preliminary report released in November by the International Criminal Court raised the prospect of Uribe being tried
for his responsibility in the ‘false positives’ scandal by finding reasonable basis to believe that killings were part of Uribe’s government policy….The Uribe administration also included the ‘parapolitica’ scandal in which over one third of Colombia’s members of congress elected in 2006 ended up behind bars for their links to paramilitary groups. All represented parties belonging to Uribe’s government coalition.” The letter states also that it is inappropriate for Alvaro Uribe to discuss peace in Colombia as he had not consistently developed any peace initiatives during his government.

Categories: Human Rights, Peace and Disarmament
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