Colombia: UN blasts Uribe’s “democratic security” program

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) states in its annual report that the “democratic security” policy of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe could have negative implications for human rights in the conflicted South American country. The report said the government should stop gauging the success of military operations by the number of casualties, which is one of the main incentives for extrajudicial killings.

According to the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), members of the security forces committed 726 extrajudicial executions from July 2002 to June 2006—a period roughly coinciding with Uribe’s first term. “Given their magnitude and territorial extension,” the extrajudicial killings “do not appear to be isolated incidents, but conduct that is tending to become more and more widespread,” the CCJ adds in a report that was presented to the Human Rights Council, meeting this month in Geneva.

The UNHCHR report makes several recommendations to the Colombian government, including that the murders of trade unionists, journalists, teachers and human rights activists be clarified. The report also includes recommendations for the guerrillas, paramilitary groups, civil society, and the international community. The report states that the political and economic structures of the supposedly demobilised paramilitary groups remain intact, and that some 3,000 to 5,000 members of these groups have reorganized and are engaging in criminal activity. (IPS, March 16 via GALDU)

See our last post on Colombia.