Statement against the repression and violations of human rights within the National agrarian strike in Colombia

We lament that the peaceful protest which is lead by rural organizations and communities has been so severely suppressed by the Police and Military forces.

The legitimate protest should always be respected and the governments should assure the liberty of expression and locomotion. These guarantees make democracies alive and it’s the state’s responsibility to ensure them.

As members of the Ethics Commission for truth in Colombia we feel questioned by the severe situations that we have acknowledged through videos, complaints and through information we have received by organizations and mediums of high credibility about serious violations of human rights committed by federal agents to control the peaceful protest that has been active since August 19th.

Furthermore, we lament the violent deaths, we promulgate solidarity with their families, we reproach the restrictions and abuses against the protesters, the journalists of official and independent media.

We demand that the regular forces in any circumstance, including the ESMAD, act in conformity with the international law of human rights and protect the citizens instead of attacking them.

A misleading message has been given to the human rights community and to the UN when the peaceful protest has been oppressed with actions against the law, outrages that even have not been seen by many Colombians and that now are being evidenced since last August 19 by the behavior of the security forces.

We call on president Santos as commander of the armed forces to call for compliance and unrestricted respect for Human Rights and to initiate administrative decisions that are conform to the responsibility for the damaged caused to live, the integrity and the freedom of the protesters. The legitimacy of a democratic state of law is hardly questioned through these illegal actions.

We forcibly invite the general fiscally of the nation to take actions and investigate, sanction and clarify the significantly numerous abuses that we have become aware of. A full clarification, a legitimate prosecution of the responsible would mean a consolidation of a democratic culture within the military forces.

The repressive massages of the government are contradictory in the scenario of conversations with the aim to end the armed conflict and an apparent improvement of the Human Rights situation in Colombia.

When you agree to peace talks with the FARC and you are waiting to initiate further conversations with the ELN but at the same time you oppress the population that expresses its inconformity and its disagreement with an agrarian model that generates poverty and a reinforcement of the ongoing environmental crisis in Colombia, the underlying message is that you DO NOT believe in the dialogue.

On top of that we invite to a serious and profound reflection about the law of citizen’s security and the police and military doctrines so that they befriend themselves with the citizens, and associate them with subjects of rights that obtain freedom of expression, and not with enemies.

Without any changes in the mentality of the public forces a consolidation of a peace process won’t be possible.

In the midst of this situation we hope that President Santos acts coherently conform to the regulations of the dialogue that he has expressed towards the peasants and that he stops the ongoing repression which would at least be a sign of trust with respect to the dialogue.

The potential arrangements between president Santos and the rural communities and organizations to initiate a substantive discussion about agrarian issues, if the dialogue is generous and productive, will promote a socially and environmental friendly economic model that consolidates the way of peace.

We appreciate that any proposal of the Estatue Desarollo Rural should contemplate a public policy that redefines the ownership structure of the land, the food sovereignty and environmental protection and the redefinition of commercial agreements under fair democratic premises so the peace in Colombia can finally be achieved.

We hope that president Santos in this historical moment sensibly compromises to an effective dialogue with the society to find ways out of the social crisis in which the rural population finds itself right now. A crisis that also affects those who live in the cities of Columbia and all of us that live on this planet on which Colombia is one of the largest reserves with biological diversity.

Several countries of the World, September 5th, 2013.

• Adolfo Pérez Esquivel – Argentina

• Mirta Acuña de Baravalle, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora- Argentina

• Stephen Haymes, Universidad de Paul, Chicago, Estados Unidos

• Comisión Ética contra la Tortura de Chile, Nelson Agustín Aramburu, Secretario Ejecutivo,

• France Amérique Latine, Francia

• Comunidad Sto. Tomás de Aquino, España

•Abogado Enrique Santiago, España

•Lerenzo Loncon, Pueblo Mapuche Chile