The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Colombia. Since 28 April, weeks of protests in Colombia have seen growing tensions, deaths, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. The Socialists and Democrats call on the Colombian authorities to de-escalate tensions and step up their efforts to find a negotiated solution through dialogue.
Maria Manuel Leitão Marques, S&D MEP and spokesperson on Latin America, said:
“We are deeply concerned about the continuing tensions and violence against demonstrators in Colombia and reports about deaths, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. Since the beginning of the protests, more than 2000 people have been injured and more than 50 people have lost their lives. It is very worrying that such excesses of violence still occur, despite the recent advances made to improve dialogue in the country. A negotiated and peaceful solution is the only path to resolve the social malaise.”
Javi López, S&D MEP and co-chair of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat), said:
“We call on the Colombian government to continue to de-escalate tensions and refrain from using force against protestors. No more lives must be lost. It is the duty of the Colombian government to protect its own citizens. Fundamental human rights and the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and the right to protest must be respected and guaranteed by the authorities.
“We support strong institutions and statehood across the country and the steps made to improve the dialogue to foster reforms and channel the legitimate social demands. We reiterate our commitment to and support for the full implementation of the peace agreement in order to finally bring peace and inclusion to the Colombian people, and help to alleviate the crushing pain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Maria Arena, S&D MEP and chair of the human rights subcommittee, said:
“I was deeply shocked by the suicide of 17-year-old Alison Meléndez, after she was brutally arrested and allegedly sexually abused by members of the riot police unit ESMAD in the city of Popayán. Unfortunately, this tragic incident is not an isolated criminal act. Police and non-uniformed agents in the city of Cali have opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, reportedly killing and injuring a number of people. Human rights defenders have been persecuted and intimidated all across the country.
“We urge the Colombian authorities to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into this alleged police brutality. Those responsible for acts of violence must be brought to justice.”