RELATIVES OF UNION PATRIOTICA VICTIMS TAKE CASE TO THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT
REINICIAR (Begin Again) Colombian Commission of Lawyers
THERE WAS NO POLITICAL WILL OR SERIOUS COMMITMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT REGARDING THE UNION PATRIOTICA CASE
The Reiniciar (Begin Again) Corporation and the Colombian Commission of Lawyers, petitioning organizations before the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights in the case of the wiping out of the Unión Patriótica (Patriotic Union; UP), publicly declare the reasons for our decision not to continue with the process begun in 2001 of finding an amicable solution. The long list of lack of compliance and absence of guarantees for the families and survivors of the genocide of the UP demonstrate that the Colombian government has no interest in making the goals of an amicable solution a reality.
On June 27 the petitioning organizations formalized before the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights the decision not to continue seeking an amicable solution to the case of the wiping out of the UP with the Colombian state. The decision, which was made in consultation with and evaluated by the political parties involved in the case and also with the Coordinación Nacional de Víctimas y Familiares del Genocidio contra la Unión Patriótica (National Coalition of Victims and Families of the Genocide of the UP), is basically a response to the intolerable situation of permanent and serious lack of compliance by the Colombian government.
The violations and threats have continued. Under the current government, at least 136 homicides of UP and Communist Party survivors, 38 cases of forced disappearance, and 28 attempted homicides have been perpetrated. This is without counting the hundreds of displaced families, victims of judicial setups. In spite of these serious facts, the authorities have not adopted effective means of preventing new violations.
The government encouraged the persecution of the UP and the PCC. Because of the persistence of the harassment, the petitioners repeatedly called on the government to make a statement condemning the atacks against the members of the UP and the Communist Party and to adopt other measures designed to prevent new violations. The government not only evaded its obligation to protect but also fomented more harassment. President Uribe¹s statements against the Communists are examples of this attitude, and strong accusations against the UP were the basis of his re-election campaign. Because of these facts, which ³made the glass overflow,² the petitioners sought a correction from the President, but to date we have received no reply.
The government¹s persistent lack of compliance prevented moving toward an amicable solution. The lack of political will is evidenced also in the refusal to implement measures to compensate for violated rights, such as the creation of a group of prosecutors and investigators working exclusively on clarifying the genocide, and the re-establishment of the legal personnel of the UP. The objectives assumed in the agreement to seek an amicable solution were also truncated by the excessive delays in assigning and releasing resources, in spite of the repeated petition by the National Procurator to assign a fixed buget item to the UP case.
These and other circumstances prevented us from continuing with a process that the government has not treated seriously nor to which it has given the necessary commitment, and which has come to a standstill because of the unjustifiable delays in achieving the rights of the victims to truth, justice, and reparation. We will proceed with the case before the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, where we are confident we will find the justice that has been denied internally.
Corporación Reiniciar Colombian Commission of Lawyers
Bogotá, July 4, 2006
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621