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5 de mayo de 2011 | | | |


Demonstrations in Brussels against forced disappearances in Colombia

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In the first quarter of 2011, 96 human rights advocates and 64 social organizations were victims of violence in Colombia. The number of cases of forced disappearances is even more shocking: 1130 in the past three years.

These figures are part of a video documentary released by alternative independent media outlet Telebraille produced after a demonstration in Brussels outside the Colombian Embassy.

Several Belgian social organizations gathered there on April 8th to express their concern about the case of environmentalist Sandra Viviana Cuellar, who disappeared in Colombia, and the increasing number of cases of forced disappearances in that country. They requested to meet with Colombian Ambassador, Carlos Trujillo.

The demonstration took place as part of a global day of activities in support of Sandra, who disappeared on February 17th outside Cali. Sandra is an environmental engineer and teacher who works in defense of the environment and the rights of indigenous communities.

Activist Vincent Vallies, from the International Office for Human Rights Action – Colombia (OIDHACO) in Brussels, denounced that according to the Colombian government and the United Nations, over 27.300 people have disappeared in Colombia in the past 20 years.

Ambassador Trujillo recognized that he received hundreds of letters from organizations and people concerned about Sandra’s disappearance. Her case “has shocked me and I hope the search continues and that we can find her”, Belgian MEP Thérèse Snoy from the Ecolo Groen! party told Telebraille. She added she hopes that Sandra’s case will help to put an end to forced disappearances in the South American country.

Snoy participated in a mission organized in Colombia by Friends of the Earth Colombia / CENSAT Agua Viva in 2009 to verify agrofuel expansion in Colombia and human rights violations resulting from their promotion, especially against farmers and indigenous people. She mentioned the high level of impunity in the cases of human rights violations in Colombia.
“There are laws that protect the rights of the people, but they are not enforced”, she said.

Telebraille highlighted the persecutions, attacks and murders in Colombia against farmers, indigenous people, workers, human rights and environmental advocates.

“The Colombian government has committed to protect human rights, but so far we can’t see any progress or concrete action”, regretted Vallies. “We demand the government to take the necessary measures to end forced disappearances in Colombia, and for the families of the victims to know the truth, find their loved ones and find justice”, he demanded.

Photo sent by Colombian organizations

(CC) 2011 Radio Mundo Real


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