Solidarity network demands a retraction from El Cambio magazine and calls for an end to official stigmatization of human rights groups.
The ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ (the Red) [The European and American Network of Unity and Solidarity with Colombia] is composed of Colombian and international organisations, including observers, journalists, aid workers and their supporters, who are working for the protection of human rights and in the provision of humanitarian support in different regions within Colombian territory, covered by the constitutional and legal framework.
For more than fifteen years, the ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ has been engaged in developing this humanitarian work, which has been recognised as being of immense value by and on behalf of rural and urban communities throughout the country.
The ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ and its members are deeply concerned by statements, threats and detentions which have been occurring since October 2008 and which seek to discredit and delegitimise the work it has been engaged in, and putting at risk the lives and physical safety of those that have been both undertaking this work and making proposals which happen not to be in accord with those of the current government. We note that events such as the arrests and deportations of a number of members of the ‘Red’, paramilitary threats and the statements in various parts of the media and by the president of the government, are closely related in the sense that they have sought to discredit and delegitimise the ‘Red de Hemandad’.
In an article entitled "The Diplomacy of the FARC" which was published in the journal ‘Cambio’ ["Change"] on the 4th June 2009, it was alleged that a number of legally constituted human rights groups, among them the ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ belonged to the international network of the FARC.
"the European NGOs (non-governmental organisations) that support the FARC, such as the ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’, that bring together groups in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Ireland and Spain, and that have links with the ‘Komite Internazionalistak’ – providing support to revolutionary groups in Latin America – have as their objective to discredit the government in order to justify the guerrilla struggle."
In April and May 2009 various organisations within the ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ were mentioned in communiqués of the paramilitary structure of the ‘Aguilas Negras’ (‘Black Eagles’), being declared to be a ‘military target’. During this same period in the Valle del Cauca, Arauca and Sur de Bolivar, communities and organisations belonging to the ‘Red Europea y Americana de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia’ have been victims of targeted killings, arbitrary detentions and judicial hearings.
Moreover, on the occasion of the visit made by Alvaro Uribe Velez to the Canadian parliament on11th June 2009, the Colombian president spoke of the alleged ‘infiltration of terrorists’ within some Canadian organisations. These serious insinuations against Canadian social and human rights organisations were made against the background that these organisations, (amongst them an organisation in the ‘Red’), were expressing their opposition to the ratification by Canada of the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.
To this must be added the persecution of the European members of the ‘Red de Hermandad’ during October 2008, when various members of the Red were detained and deported, and in which the paramilitary structure of the Aguilas Negras made threats to all members of groups and organisations of the Red by means of an e-mail. On 18th October 2008, during the course of a speech, the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, accused those members of the Red de Hermandad who were expelled of having been in the country in order to encourage violence: "These (foreign) people ought to be in prison; they ought not to have been deported, but brought to trial and put in prison, because they are guilty of encouraging violence", adding that "here (in Colombia) they are apologists for crime, and abroad they are involved in distorting the truth."
We consider that, in spite of government claims that it is a supporter of human rights, there exists a huge gap between the claims and the reality, and that the facts mentioned above clearly demonstrate an intention to both restrict and criminalise the activities of aid workers and international observers.
a) A public retraction and rectification by the journal ‘Cambio’, which should make clear that it recognises as unfounded the accusations, which it has made in its article "The Diplomacy of the FARC" against the Red de Hermandad and other legally constituted organisations which work in favour of human rights in Colombia.
b) We demand that the Colombian State guarantees for the legitimate development of the activities of the popular organisations of support, and ceases falsely stigmatising them and subjecting them to judicial hearings.
ASSOCIATION FRANCE AMÉRIQUE LATINE AFAL- COMITÉ COLOMBIA-LYON (FRANCE)
CENTRO REGIONAL DE INICIATIVA PARA LA COOPERACION CRIC (ITALY)
COLECTIVO GINEBRINOS DE SOLIDARIDAD CON LOS PUEBLOS COLOMBIANOS -GINEBRA (SWITZERLAND)
COLECTIVO SOLIDARITÉ COLOMBIA (SWISS/FRENCH)
COLECTIVO REVISTA RESISTENCIAS (GREECE)
COLOMBIA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN (UK)
COLOMBIA SOLIDARITY NETWORK (IRELAND)
COMITÉ DE SOLIDARIDAD CARLOS FONSECA (ITALY)
CONFEDERACIÓN COBAS (ITALY)
CONFEDERATION NATIONALE DU TRAVAIL CNT (FRANCE)
ESPACIO BRISTOL-COLOMBIA, (ENGLAND)
GRUPO DE APOYO (SWISS/GERMAN)
KOLUMBIEN KAMPAGNE BERLÍN (GERMANY)
SOLIDARIDAD CON COLOMBIA DE LA REGIÓN BERNA- SOLICOL (SWITZERLAND)
TRIBUNAL INTERNACIONAL DE OPINIÓN SB-PARIS (FRANCE)
RED PARA LOS DERECHOS POLITICOS Y SOCIALES – DIKTIO, GREECE
AVCAL, BRUSELAS, BELGIUM.
ORGANIZACION JUVENIL Y AUTONOMA PARA LATINO AMERICA (OJALA), AMSTERDAM
A SEED EUROPE, AMSTERDAM
TRANSNATIONALINSTITUTE (TNI) PROGRAMA DE DROGAS Y CONFLICTO, AMSTERDAM
XMINY SOLIDARITEITSFONDS, AMSTERDAM
EN EL ESTADO SPAIN
ASOCIACIÓN INTERNACIONALISTA PAZ Y SOLIDARIDAD – AISPAZ (LEÓN)
ASOCIACIÓN PAZ CON DIGNIDAD
CENTRO DE DOCUMENTACIÓN Y SOLIDARIDAD CON AMÉRICA LATINA Y ÁFRICA-CEDSALA (VALENCIA)
COLECTIVO DE COLOMBIANOS REFUGIADOS EN ESPAÑA – COLREFE
COMITÉ DE SOLIDARIDAD CON AMÉRICA LATINA – COSAL-XIXÓN (ASTURIES)
CONFEDERACIÓN GENERAL DEL TRABAJO (CGT)
COORDINADORA ARAGONESA DE SOLIDARIDAD CON COLOMBIA – CASCOL (ARAGÓN)
KOMITE INTERNAZIONALISTAK (PAÍS VASCO)
ÁREA DE PAU I SOLIDARITAT DE ESQUERRA UNIDA DEL PAIS VALENCIÀ
ALTERNATIVA ANTIMILITARISTA MOC VALENCIA
COORDINADORA VALENCIANA DE SOLIDARIDAD CON COLOMBIA
COLECTIVO SUR CACARICA
CEPS (CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS POLÍTICOS Y SOCIALES)
CEAR (COMISIÓN ESPAÑOLA DE AYUDA AL REFUGIADO)
ENTRE IGUALES – VALENCIA
FEDERACION ARAGONESA DE SOLIDARIDAD F.A.S (COMPUESTA POR 38 ORGANIZACIONES)
ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCION DE ARAGON
PAZ Y SOLIDARIDAD DE COMISIONES OBRERAS DE ARAGON
A ENRESTIDA – ARAGON
MAS VIDA – ARAGON
PARA TODOS TODO – ARAGON
COMITE OSCAR ROMERO – ARAGON
ACCION SOLIDARIA ARAGONESA
COLECTIVO DE LA UNIVERSIDAD DE ZARAGOZA IQUIQUE
COMITE DE SOLIDARIDAD INTERNACIONALISTA DE ZARAGOZA
ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCIÓN
CORRIENTE SINDICAL DE IZQUIERDAS-ASTURIES
PLATAFORMA DE SOLIDARIDAD CON CHIAPAS DE ASTURIES
PLATAFORMA BOLIVARIANA DE ASTURIES
FUNDACIÓN MUNDUBAT, PAÍS VASCO
ASOCIACIÓN DE TRABAJADORES E INMIGRANTES MARROQUÍES (ATIM)
ASOCIACIÓN DE JÓVENES INMIGRANTES (AJI-ATIM)
IZQUIERDA UNIDA LA RIOJA
ASOCIACION DE SOLIDARIDAD CON COLOMBIA ASOC-KATIO
COMITE DE SOLIDARIDAD OSCAR ROMERO DE MADRID
COMUNIDADES CRISTIANAS POPULARES DEL ESTADO ESPAÑOL
ASOCIACIÓN SOLIDARIDAD DERECHOS HUMANOS COLOMBIA
PARTIDO HUMANISTA DE ESPAÑA
ASOCIACIÓN CULTURAL CANDELA (MADRID)
IZQUIERDA UNIDA FEDERAL OSPAAAL (ORGANIZACIÓN DE SOLIDARIDAD CON LOS PUEBLOS DE ÁFRICA, ASIA Y AMÉRICA LATINA).
PARTIDO COMUNISTA DE ESPAÑA
JUVENTUD COMUNISTA DE ESPAÑA
PLATAFORMA DE CIUDADANOS POR LA REPÚBLICA
PARTIDO COMUNISTA DE MADRID
ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCIÓN MADRID
PROYECTO DE ACOMPAÑAMIENTO Y SOLIDARIDAD CON COLOMBIA -PASC (CANADÁ)
FRENTE POPULAR DARÍO SANTILLÁN (ARGENTINA)
PAÑUELOS EN REBELDÍA (ARGENTINA)
PRINCIPIO ESPERANZA (ARGENTINA)
AGENCIA PUEBLOS EN PIE (ECUADOR)
ALTERNATIVA PATRIÓTICA Y POPULAR (PANAMÁ)
ASOCIACIÓN COLOMBO-VENEZOLANA "LA ESPADA DE BOLÍVAR" (VENEZUELA)
RED MEXICO-COLOMBIA (MEXICO)