Public Statement on the Extra-Judicial Execution of at least 46 Young Men in Colombia (Grupo Raíces)
We, Grupo Raíces/Grúpa Fréamhacha, condemn the extra-judicial execution of 46 Colombian young men between January and August this year, as emerged on the news two weeks ago.
We, Grupo Raíces/Grúpa Fréamhacha, condemn the extra-judicial execution of 46 Colombian young men between January and August this year, as emerged on the news two weeks ago. The facts are as follows:
1. 46 young men, 23 of them originally from Sohacha and Ciudad Bolivar some of the most deprived areas of the Capital, Bogotá, were registered as disappeared by their families; however two weeks ago, it was reported that they had been “killed in combat” by the 30th Brigade of the Colombian Army in Ocaña, Norte de Santander, under the command iof General Paulino Coronado. The version of being killed in combat was shown to be untrue because none of the young men were killed, according to the coroner, any later than 48 hours after their disappearance. This time frame does not give enough time for them to have been recruited by any irregular armed group, to have been trained and then to have been sent into combat.
2. It has emerged that the Army in alliance with paramilitaries may have kidnapped the young men (tricked by offering them jobs elsewhere) and then killed them to benefit from the deed—even the Minister of Defence, Juan Manuel Santos, was forced to acknowledge that there is still an ongoing practice in the Colombian army of demanding quotas of guerrillas killed by army officers.
3. We insist that this is not a one-off case: there have been countless others murdered in similar circumstances. There are, up to the present, some 1015 cases of selective extra-judicial murders of civilians by the Colombian army since Álvaro Uribe came to power. These victims are later disguised as guerrilla fighters and reported as "killed in combat".
4. We also denounce the fact that this is a systematic practice of the government and the army in Colombia— both to cleanse the country of the opposition and also for the army to be able to show better results in the internal war that has persisted in Colombia for six decades. Indeed this is not the first time that the 30th Brigade of Norte de Santander, under Commander Paulino Coronado, has been accused of extra-judicial executions of civilians later to be presented as guerrillas.
5. We condemn the fact that all of this is happening without any strong condemnation from the EU authorities, who continue with their policy of uncritical and full support to the government of Álvaro Uribe, in spite of mounting and undeniable evidence of the systematic violation of human rights in the name of "counter-insurgency".
Grupo Raíces - Grúpa Fréamchacha
Dublin (Baila Átha Cliath), Ireland
9th October 2008