08 May 2021
Colombia: "Despite the torture, people are still fighting"

IRCT member CAPS Colombia report serious human rights violations, with people being killed on the streets and tortured in detention centres. We stand in solidarity with Colombia, demanding a stop of repression and that the Colombian government comply with its obligations to guarantee and protect the life and integrity of those who exercise social protest, to stop police repression, and to make those responsible for the torture, rape, and ill-treatment they are subjecting civilians.

Colombia:

CAPS Colombia are working hard and strategically to support the victims while all lawyers from human rights organisations in Colombia are overwhelmed. CAPS Colombia will focus their efforts on 1. People who have lost their eyes. 2. Those who have been raped in detention and 3. innocent youth who are being identified as terrorists.

Despite the violence and the killings, they report a resilience imortant for the people's movement:

"Despite the violence, despite the torture and everything they have to endure from the public authorities, the people are still fighting. This is important in this country because there has always been corruption and there has always been murders among these public authorities and so the fact the people are not afraid anymore is really important... this is something we see on the streets in this country." - Angela Ospina, CAPS Colombia

For news and updates (in Spanish) on the situation in Colombia, please visit CAPS Colombia here.

Official Statement from the Latin American Network of Health

LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN NETWORK OF HEALTH

INSTITUTIONS AGAINST TORTURE, IMPUNITY AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

STOP REPRESSION IN COLOMBIA

Colombia is going through a social, economic, and political crisis that worsens in the context of the public health crisis. The Colombian State recognizes the existence of 21 million people living in poverty, that is, 42.5% of the Colombian population. Added to this situation is the recent humanitarian crisis that is expressed in the systematic murder of social leaders, massacres, torture, rapes, and other atrocities committed by the public force in collusion with paramilitary groups.

In response to this situation, social organizations called for a National Strike for Life, Peace, Democracy and against the Neoliberal Policies of the Duque government, which began on April 28th and have continued throughout the national territory despite the government withdrawing of the tax reform due to the pressure of social unrest.   

The massiveness and forcefulness of the National Strike carried out by the population has had a repressive response from the national government through the public force. So far, the Defend Freedom Campaign records the murder of 21 people, 208 injured, 18 eye mutilations, 10 cases of sexual violence and gender-based violence, 503 protestors detained and beaten in police stations, and 42 attacks on Human Rights defenders and independent reporters.

President Duque has ordered the militarization of Colombian cities as a way of controlling the just social protest that the population is leading through the figure of "military assistance to Mayors and Governors".

The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Health Institutions Against Torture, Impunity and other Human Rights Violations demands that the Colombian government comply with its obligations to guarantee and protect the life and integrity of those who exercise social protest, to stop police repression, and to make those responsible for the flagrant violation of Human Rights accountable. 

The Latin American Network stands in solidarity with the social organizations participating in the National Strike, with the families of the people who have lost their lives, and those who have been wounded, injured, and detained; in a special way, The Latin American Network demands respect for the work of Human Rights organizations that accompany the population and denounce the abuses described. Solidarity with the people of Colombia. 

Center for Alternatives in Mental Health and Human Rights (ATYHA), Paraguay.

Center for Mental Health and Human Rights (CINTRAS), Chile.

Center for the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and their Families (CPTRT), Honduras.

CAPS Peru Psychosocial Care Center.

Psychosocial Care Center (CAPS), Colombia.

Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), Mexico.

Argentine Psychosocial Work and Research Team (EATIP), Argentina.

Community Studies and Psychosocial Action Team (ECAP), Guatemala.

Foundation for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence (PRIVA), Ecuador.

Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation (INREDH), Ecuador.

Mutual Support Group (GAM), Guatemala.

Institute for Therapy and Research on the Aftermath of Torture and State Violence (ITEI), Bolivia.

Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala (ODHAG), Guatemala. Network for Children and the Family (REDINFA), Peru


"Despite the violence, despite the torture and everything they have to endure from the public authorities, the people are still fighting. This is important in this country because there has always been corruption and there has always been murders among these public authorities and so the fact the people are not afraid anymore is really important... this is something we see on the streets in this country."

-Angela Ospina, CAPS Colombia

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