Grave accusations by the Buenaventura city clerk against the Humanitarian Space

The city clerk of Buenaventura, Alvaro Martán Abonce, told several lies and made grave accusations about the Afro-descendant community of Puente Nayero in the La Playa barrio, a community that is covered by precautionary measures of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

According to the newspaper El Pais de Cali, the city clerk made declarations that “questioned the posture that the community situated there has assumed, restricting the entrance of the Public Security Forces into the Humanitarian Space, causing a failure by the authorities to preserve the security of those who live in the sector, as ordered by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.”

Completely ignoring the experience of the community that confronts the paramilitaries, he accused the Humanitarian Space of being a zone cleared of government authority, making an implicit allusion to the experience of the Pastrana administration during conversations with the FARC:

“An unconstitutional and reproachable situation from every point of view, because for the Police and the Navy there cannot be a prohibited place in the territory, and less so for a community to which it is going to bring guarantees of protection. It is as if this Humanitarian Space were a zone handed over by the authorities,” said the city clerk.
The human rights “authority” did not recognize the initiative of the Humanitarian Space when he asserted with a series of lies, according to the report of El Pais, “that he does not understand how the inhabitants of this sector try to feel protected if they do not permit the competent authorities to do their work, with the argument that ‘they feel safe without the presence of uniformed members of the Police and Navy nor groups on the margin of the law.’”

Ignoring the character and sense of the protection measures adopted by the Inter-American Commission, he said “the requirement made by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission ought to go further than a legal fulfillment, considering that it should reevaluate the situation of Buenaventura in face of the presence of these illegal groups, because the disposition focuses on one sector of the city and ignores the fact that around it murders, forced disappearances, and other victimizing actions continue.”
The affirmations about who should watch out for the protection of the rights of the population is similar to the expressions of members of the police and the naval force of the Pacific who have referred to the Humanitarian Space as an “Independent Republic.”

Bogotá, D.C., September 24, 2014

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission