During a day of rememberance for the victims of one of Colombia’s darkest episodes, the Union Patriotica (UP) massacres, a representative for the UN High Commission for Human Rights declared that the Colombian government collaborated with paramilitary forces with the intention to exterminate UP sympathizers.
“The Colombian government has acknowledged that state agents, along with paramilitary groups, were responsible for the murders such as that of Congressman Manuel Cepeda,” the UN representative, Cristian Salazar, told news station Caracol.
20 years ago, over 5,000 supporters of the Union Patriotica (a party alligned with leftist guerrilla group FARC) were sytematically assassinated throughout Colombia. In addition to relatives of victims and survivors of the massacres, many diverse organizations are continuing to request that the current goverment identify and punish those responsible.
Although those affected by the UP massacres maintain that impunity has long reigned in this tragic case, the Colombian Prosecution stated that the Human Rights Unit has issued 34 convictions and 19 people are serving sentences for their implication in the events, reported Caracol.
Though two decades have passed since the massacres took place, the Prosecution emphasized that it continues to provide staff and expertise to bring the perpetrators to justice.
With regard to UP, members who were reported ‘missing’ following the massacres, the Prosecution claims to be investigating 630 cases and the corpses of 546 people have been located.