Statement on the abuses of security forces during the repression of social protest in Colombia
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4 May 2021
In the last week, protests in Colombia over a proposed tax reform have spurred a national mobilization against poverty and inequality, to which the Colombian government has reacted with repression, extreme violence and assassinations.
The Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) emphatically rejects the abuses of security forces and expresses our deep concern about the lack of guarantees for social protest in Colombia.
According to reports from national and international organizations, in recent days dozens of people have lost their lives in the context of state repression and hundreds more have been injured.
We categorically condemn the extreme use of force against demonstrators and demand that the lives and rights of all citizens be respected.
Liliana Ávila, AIDA human rights attorney and Colombian citizen, states:
"Faced with the worrying escalation of violence, and the abuse of public force to silence social demonstrations, it is urgent that the Colombian state respect the human rights of protesters and create democratic and participatory spaces in which effective responses can be given to the conditions of poverty, marginalization and exclusion that are at the root of these protests."
"All people have the right to demonstrate, and it is the State’s responsibility to create effective mechanisms for public participation. It’s extremely worrying that the State, instead, has taken repressive measures incompatible with the rule of law, severely restricting people's freedoms, and violating their right to life and personal integrity, while promoting language that stigmatizes and criminalizes protesters".
We call on the international community and urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to demand that the Colombian State respect the human rights of the protesters.