Colombia’s vice president defended the country’s efforts to improve human rights protections, after a new report highlighted abuses in Colombia for the 12th consecutive year.
Angelino Garzon rejected media reports claiming Colombia has been “blacklisted” by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) annual report, released yesterday.
Garzon said the government is committed to cooperating with the IACHR, and he called the media’s use of the term “blacklist” racist.
The concept “does not contribute to the spirit of working together and cooperation that defines relations within international organizations,” he said.
The IACHR report said Colombia, Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela warranted “special attention” in 2011. In Colombia, it detailed continued violence perpetrated by armed forces, the use of military jurisdiction for issues of human rights violations, and extrajudicial executions known as “false positives”.
“Colombia is a country that respects human rights and international humanitarian law,” Garzon said.
He said Colombia has previously called on international organizations working for the protection of human rights to “conduct analysis into the situation of all member countries, without exception, and that the reports should include contextual information.”
In its report, the IACHR acknowledged the complex issues facing Colombia, including five decades of armed conflict and drug trafficking. It noted the country’s “legislative, administrative, and judicial measures to try to overcome the grave situations involving human rights violations, stemming from paramilitarism and illegal intelligence activities.”
Last month, Garzon officially announced his candidacy for the Director General’s position at the International Labour Organization. Earlier rumors of Garzon’s candidacy drew heavy criticism from Colombian labor unions over the country’s ongoing poor human rights record.
The Washington Office on Latin America recently reported that 30 union activists were murdered in Colombia last year, while four were killed between January and March 2012.