Statement by Parliamentary Friends of Colombia regarding massacre in Tumaco

Justice For Colombia News | on: Friday, 6 October 2017

We, the Parliamentary Friends of Colombia, are deeply concerned over reports that at least nine peasant farmers were killed and at least 40 injured allegedly by security forces on 5 October 2017 in Tumaco, department of Nariño, southern Colombia. The Parliamentary Friends of Colombia is a parliamentary group formed of over 80 MPs of different political parties belonging to the British Parliament.

According to reports from civil and political organisations in Colombia, police and army opened fire at citizens opposing forced coca crop eradication programmes. The programmes being enforced contravened elements relating to Point 4 of the 2016 peace agreement. The extensive military operation reportedly involved over 1,000 police officers and soldiers.

We note that security forces' version of events that they came under attack from FARC dissidents has been refuted by several regional and national organisations. These organisations assert that this version of events was used as justification for the subsequent massacre. Eyewitness accounts state that none of the victims were armed.

The death of any citizen through violence is a troubling concern. However, when so many are alleged to have been killed by state forces, we must demand that all efforts are made to establish the truth and hold any responsible parties to account. Any acts of state violence taken against civilians clearly undermine Colombia's peace process. To ensure successful implementation of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia, all terms within the 2016 peace agreement must be fully respected and implemented.

As a Parliamentary group permanently monitoring the human and labour rights situation and the implementation of the peace agreement in Colombia, we demand every effort be made to address the concerns expressed above and an urgent investigation into the incidents in Tumaco.

Further, we reaffirm our support for the full implementation of the full terms of the peace agreement, including the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) transitional justice programme.

We also express our condolences to the families of the victims.

Parliamentary Friends of Colombia

London, 6 October 2017

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