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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nationwide Gathering of Victims

Second Colombian Nationwide Gathering of Victims of Crimes against Humanity and Human Rights Violations

Bogotá, June 23, 24 and 25, 2005

 Last year, On 28 & 29 May 2004, the First Colombian Nationwide Gathering of Victims of Crimes against Humanity and Human Rights Violations was celebrated; an event in which persons and communities, victims of paramilitary and state terrorism, made their presence felt. A demand was made for there to be full respect and recognition of the rights of truth, justice and integral reparation of the victims. A call was sent out for the total elimination of all crimes against humanity from Colombian society: assassinations, tortures, massacres, forced disappearances and displacements, and all other illegal violations. Steps were taken for the creation of a National Movement in which individuals, communities, and organisations that are victims of crimes against humanity could cooperate in the defence of their rights.

These demands and proposals are as vital today as a year ago. The government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has maintained a process of dialogue with paramilitary groups which, far from producing their demobilisation as was claimed, has led to the strengthening of paramilitary influence and infiltration in new aspects of the nation¹s activities. The public development of the dialogues denies state responsibility in the development of this premeditated strategy. This tendency has implied the repeated violation of a cease-fire announced by the armed groups, allowing the continuation of atrocious crimes. The decrees of individual demobilisation and bills promoted by the governmental majority in Congress are threatening to institutionalise a generalised pardon for millions of homicides and disappearances committed against social movements and organisations.

Promising peace and the deactivation of paramilitary activity, the governmental dialogues are directed towards implementation of a project that gives priority to specific interests: legally unregulated executive control over the civilian population in many regions of the country; legalisation of land seizures from rural, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities; economic deregulation and the introduction of foreign corporate projects; presidential reelection through votes influenced by military pressure; legalisation of drug money, goods and lands, etc. This project is a pivotal step in the construction of an ultra-authoritarian power with a radical neo-liberal economic agenda, which will bring drastic repercussions for the entire region.

With the general aim of debating participatory strategies to obtain truth, justice, and integral reparation for the victims of Colombia¹s dirty war, and of creating a nationwide movement uniting the social movements and communities affected by it, the undersigned organisations are convening the Second Colombian Nationwide Gathering of Victims of Crimes Against Humanity and Human Rights Violations, to be held in Bogotá on 23, 24 and 25 June 2005.

No to the Impunity of State and Paramilitary Terrorism in Colombia!

We can neither forgive nor forget! Truth, Justice and Full Reparation for the Victims!
 Sponsoring Organisations:
Association of the Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (ASFADDES)
National Association of Solidarity and Assistance (ANDAS)
Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners
Justice and Life Project
Inter-Church Commission of Peace and Justice
Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
Manuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation
José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers¹ Collective
United Central Workers¹ Organisation (CUT)



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