President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday welcomed the U.S. State department’s judgement of Colombia as “human rights compliant” and said that because of the certification, $20 million in military funding will be released.
From the South Korean capital of Seoul where Santos is on an official visit, the Colombian head of state said that the $20 million was “withheld for reasons relating to human rights, with the obtaining of this certification these resources have been released and are destined to help the military.”
Santos highlighted the work of the Colombian Armed Forces and said that they are respecting human rights in the fight against illegal armed groups.
The human rights certification, bestowed Thursday, allows the U.S. Congress to deliver full funding requested by the White House for the Colombian Armed Forces. This evaluation takes place every year relating to military aid to other countries.
In a document from the State Department to the U.S. Congress it is stated that the government of Santos has made important steps to protect human rights in Colombia, emphasizing the Victims and Land Restitution Law.
In addition the new Prosecutor General Viviane Morales “has committed herself to improving the administration of justice and addressing the backlog of human rights cases,” said the State Department.
Human rights could be a determining factor in the progress of the Colombia-U.S. free trade agreement, following an action plan signed in April 2011 by President Juan Manuel Santos and President Barack Obama.