Candidates’ views on reparations for state violence

Colombian new source El Tiempo asked the presidential candidates whether they think victims of state violence should receive the same reparations as victims of illegal armed groups.

“The rights of victims should recognized, irrespective of the perpetrator. However, that does not mean that the state should be held accountable when its agents, acting outside of the law, committed crimes,” replied Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos.

“Yes. There are no first class and second class victims. Colombia has suffered a lot and society is in debt to the victims of violence. We will instigate progressive mechanisms of legal, symbolic, cultural and moral reparation for all victims,” said Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus.

“The state cannot be compared to illegal armed groups. A victim of a state agent is provided with judicial resources to be reparated, while victims of illegal armed groups are reparated through a political process, viable by law,” Conservative Party candidate Noemi Sanin said.

“Yes. For the victim the effects of the violation of rights is the same, irrespective of who committed the abuse. Reparation is not granted based on who is the perpetrator but according to the seriousness of the violation committed,” said Polo Democratico’s Gustavo Petro.

“The debate on this issue is surprising, given that for many decades any victim of a crime of a state agent has the right to be reparated and compensated,” Cambio Radical candidate German Vargas Lleras commented.

“All victims of internal conflict, independent of the perpetrator, have the right to fair reparation. According to the victims law, we seek a material and symbolic reparation for all. Liberalism will continue to insist upon this law, which the Uribe government blocked,” said Liberal Party candidate Rafael Pardo.

As of midnight Sunday, candidates for the 2010-2014 presidency were required by law to stop canvassing. The latest polls are too close to predict who will win the most contested elections in the country’s modern history.

Colombians go to the polls Sunday May 30 to elect their next president.

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