Heavy Fighting in Southern Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 30 November 2008

Intense combat between soldiers and leftwing FARC guerrillas is taking place in two municipalities in the southern Colombian region of Putumayo. The fighting, in Puerto Asis and Puerto Guzman, follows an ambush by the guerrillas of a group of police officers who were responding to reports that a FARC read more

Peace Initiative Moves Forward with Call to End Kidnapping

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 28 November 2008

An exchange of correspondence between Colombian civil society and leaders of the FARC guerrilla group has continued with 'Colombians for Peace', the coalition of civil society leaders led by Liberal Party Senator Piedad Cordoba that is trying to foster peace talks, calling on the guerrillas to end their practice of read more

Indigenous Leaders Detained in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 27 November 2008

Two leaders of the 'Embera Chami' indigenous group in Colombia have been detained in what indigenous groups are calling a set-up by the secret police aimed at weakening and "deligitimising the struggle of indigenous organisations". Both leaders, Arney Antonio Tapasco Reyes and Felix Antonio Hernandez, were detained on November read more

Attacks on Journalists Continue in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A reporter has been arrested and accused of 'rebellion', while others complain of intimidation for reporting on police corruption in the latest attacks on journalists in Colombia. The country remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for media workers with a newly released study saying that read more

Human Rights Activist Assassinated in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Benigno Gil, a human rights defender who had been threatened for his work on several occasions, has been murdered in the town of Chigorodo in Colombia's Antioquia department. Mr Gil had been leading a land return campaign on behalf of over a thousand peasant farmers who had been forced read more

Amnesty and UN Condemn New Colombia Law

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A new law that the Colombian regime claims is supposed to help victims of human rights violations has been widely condemned by victims' organisations as well as Amnesty International and the UN High Commission for Human Rights. Critics say that the law discriminates against victims of abuses by state read more

Victims’ Leader Arrested in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 24 November 2008

The regional leader of the National Movement of Victims, MOVICE, in the Colombian department of Sucre has been arrested and accused of links to paramilitary death squads. Carmelo Agamez, Secretary of the Sucre chapter of MOVICE, is himself a victim of the paramilitaries and MOVICE have described his arrest read more

Time for a New Colombia Policy

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 23 November 2008

An editorial in yesterday's edition of the Los Angeles Times has called for an overhaul of US policy towards Colombia. The paper says that "human rights abuses should be addressed" and points out that despite millions in US aid, drugs production and abuses by the Colombian Army have both read more

Academics and Students Rounded-Up in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 22 November 2008

university teachers who they say are sympathetic to the leftwing FARC guerrilla group. Three students and two professors have already been arrested and paramilitary death squads have issued death threats saying that leftwing students and their families are now 'military objectives'.The detentions begun in mid-November when two students at read more

Union Offices Bombed in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 21 November 2008

The regional headquarters of the Colombian trade union confederation CUT have been attacked with explosives causing "severe damage" according to national CUT leader Tarsicio Mora. The building where the bomb exploded also housed the local offices of several human rights, peasant farmer and indigenous rights groups.Mora condemned the attacks, which read more

Colombia: Not Time For a Trade Deal

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 20 November 2008

Washington-DC based Human Rights Watch has called on the US Congress not to consider a proposed Free Trade Agreement with Colombia until there has been a sustained improvement in human rights in Colombia and a lessening of anti-trade union violence. See here for their statement and here read more

Colombian Unions Refuse to Meet with President

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 20 November 2008

Colombia's two largest trade union confederations have refused to meet with President Alvaro Uribe saying that previous meetings with him have not been 'conducted in a serious manner' and accusing him of following policies designed to weaken trade unions. In a letter to the President they point out that read more

New Dossier Details Hundreds of Abuses by Colombian Army

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A report produced by the US-based Colombia Support Network, documents what the group describes as a consistent pattern of "terrorism, thievery, bungling and massacres" by the Colombian Army in recent years. The document outlines hundreds of incidents, including numerous killings and cases of collaboration with drugs traffickers and read more

Colombia: Stop False Accusations against Human Rights Organisations

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 19 November 2008

"President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia should stop making false and dangerous accusations against human rights groups that criticise his government", Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in a joint statement. Colombia should instead address the human rights concerns they raise say the two international organisations.President Uribe read more

Indigenous Leader and Mother Assassinated in Ongoing Violence in SW Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A rightwing paramilitary death squad have murdered indigenous leader Jackson Pai Garcia in the south western Colombian region of Narino. The gunmen also shot and killed Mr Garica's mother , Maruja Garcia Casaluzan, during the attack on their family home in the municipality of Ricaurte on November 16th.Mr Garica read more

Second Human Rights Abuser Promoted in Colombian Army

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 16 November 2008

Following the appointment of notorious human rights abuser General Oscar Gonzalez as head of the Colombian Army earlier this month, the Colombian Government has promoted a second military official who has been implicated in over 50 murders. According to residents in the region where he operated between 2006 and read more

Colombian Regime Punishes Indigenous People for FARC Attack

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Colombian authorities have suspended a program to return stolen lands to indigenous communities following the killing of two soldiers by leftwing FARC guerrillas yesterday near an indigenous reserve in the department of Cauca. The authorities have accused local indigenous communities of involvement in the deaths and have suspended read more

Paramilitary/Military Terror Continues Unabated in Northeast Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 10 November 2008

Civilians have been murdered and disappeared and residents are fleeing their homes as a large group of rightwing paramilitaries rampages through the region of Catatumbo in the northeast Colombian department of Norte de Santander. Human rights groups and local people say that the Army is collaborating with the paramilitaries read more

International Figures Back Peace Efforts in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 8 November 2008

A leading group of international figures, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner, have published a statement expressing their support for a new peace initiative by civil society and the FARC guerrilla group in Colombia. The statement, addressed to "civil society and the insurgency", says that the signatories wish to read more

US Congress: Colombia Cocaine Production Up Despite $5 Billion in Aid

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 November 2008

A report by the US Congress has found that both coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia have increased in recent years despite $5 billion in US aid. The report, produced by the General Accounting Office of Congress, is likely to add further weight to calls that US aid read more

Colombia Ecuador Relations Still Tense 8 Months after Diplomatic Relations Severed

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 November 2008

Relations between Colombia and Ecuador show no sign of improving following a recent sequence of angry exchanges between the two governments. Ecuador broke off diplomatic relations with Bogota in March following an illegal Colombian Army operation into Ecuadorian territory and has now accused Colombian soldiers and paramilitaries of fresh read more

Colombia Government Denies Reality as US Cuts Military Aid Over Army Killings

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 November 2008

Washington has suspended all US military aid to several Colombian military units following allegations that soldiers have been involved in murdering civilians and then presenting their bodies as guerrillas killed in combat. Two divisional commands and a de-mining unit of the Colombian Army are thought to be involved, though read more

Army Murders Peasant Farmer Leader in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 6 November 2008

In the latest in a series of attacks against civil society in the southern Colombian region of Putumayo, soldiers have assassinated a community leader who worked to organise peasant farmers in the area. Jeferson Estiven Bastidas, a 28-year-old father of two, was shot dead by the troops at 8am read more

Colombian President Attacks Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Trade Unions in Furious Outburst

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 6 November 2008

An incensed President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia has lashed out at human rights groups and trade unionists describing them as "enemies" of his government who care only for "criminals described as unionists". His harshest remarks were reserved for Jose Miguel Vivanco, the director of Human Rights Watch, whom he read more

Death Threats for Official Who Denounced Army Killings in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 6 November 2008

A local government official in the Bogota neighbourhood of Soacha has received paramilitary death threats after his denouncements that soldiers were kidnapping and murdering poor residents of the neighbourhood led to widespread condemnation of the Colombian Army by the UN and others. Fernando Escobar, the municipal ombudsman, was told read more

The First Step Towards Peace in Colombia?

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 6 November 2008

A recent public exchange of correspondence between leading figures in Colombian civil society and the FARC guerrilla group has, for the first time in some years, provided hope that peace negotiations to end the 50-year-old Colombian conflict may be possible. Both the guerrillas and the civil society representatives express read more

Take Action Against Privatisation of Public Services in Colombia

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The global federation of public sector trade unions – Public Services International (PSI) – has created a page on their website where people can protest direct to the Colombian regime about the privatisation of refuse collection services in the Colombian city of Cali, the flouting of collective bargaining agreements and read more

Notorious Human Rights Abuser Promoted to Head Colombian Army

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Despite claims by the Colombian regime that they are taking human rights concerns seriously, an Army General implicated in hundreds of extra-judicial executions has been promoted to lead the Colombian Army. General Oscar Enrique Gonzalez not only permitted his troops to murder scores of civilians but also attacked human read more

Mass Detention of Trade Unionists and Leading Human Rights Defender in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Over twenty people have been detained by the Colombian security forces in a roundup of civil society leaders in the region of Arauca. Among those taken away by soldiers and the secret police was Martin Sandoval, the regional President of the Permanent Human Committee for Human Rights (CPDH), Colombia's read more

Repression of Colombian Political Opposition Continues

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 3 November 2008

Revelations that President Uribe of Colombia ordered the secret police to spy on an opposition Senator and try to find dirt on the main opposition party are the latest in a string of events that the Colombian opposition have described as "persecution". Numerous members of the opposition have been read more

International Criminal Court May Investigate Army Killings in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 2 November 2008

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who yesterday described extrajudicial killings by the Colombian Army as "widespread and systematic", has said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could intervene if the Colombian Government does not put an end to the killings. According to Commissioner NaviPillay, the executions may read more

Municipal Ombudsman Assassinated in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 1 November 2008

A local official known for speaking out about human rights abuses in the Segovia area of Colombia's Antioquia department was yesterday shot dead by assassins as he left his home for work. Jairo Luis Alvarez, the municipal ombudsman (Personero Municipal) in Segovia, had worked closely with regional peasant farmer read more

UN Says Army Systematically Killing Civilians in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Saturday, 1 November 2008

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused the Colombian Army of carrying out "widespread and systematic" murders of civilians. Navi Pillay, who today concluded a fact-finding mission to Colombia, also denounced ongoing forced displacement and arbitrary detentions and said she was concerned that "several indicators point read more