Minister: Human rights complaints against army drop

Colombia’s Ministry of Defense on Wednesday backed up assertions that the country’s security services are cleaning up their human rights record, reporting a dramatic fall in human rights complaints and “false positives” cases, reports El Espectador.

In a presentation given to Colombian businesses who are donating resources to the military’s medical center, Defense Minister Gabriel Silva claimed that in 2008 there were 1,254 complaints of human rights violations against the military, in 2009 there were 39, while in 2010 there have so far been only 10.

As for cases of “false positives,” the term for a scandal in which Colombian soldiers murdered innocent civilians and dressed them up in guerrilla clothing in order to inflate their rebel kill statistics, Silva reported that only four cases have been recorded in 2010, two of which are being investigated by the United Nations.

A U.N. report in May denounced Colombia for its failure to bring to justice those responsible for the alleged thousands of false positives cases that have occurred in the last decade, claiming that roughly 98.5% of the cases have gone unpunished.

The report highlighted that these extrajudicial killings have been going on during the past decade, and number between a few hundred and 2000.

According to the report, the number of false positives killings grew substantially in 2004, but has reduced since the government took steps to curb them, starting in 2007.

Last month, the human rights coalition Coordination Colombia-Europa reported that since 1994, there have been 3,796 cases of extrajudicial killings, of which 3,084 were recorded since the implementation of President Uribe’s hard-line “democratic security” policy.

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