Colombia’s Defense Minister on Wednesday rejected the conclusions of Human Rights Watch’s damning new report on Colombia’s neo-paramilitary gangs, accusing the NGO of bias.
In a statement, Gabriel Silva asserted that “the report’s findings have a political and ideological orientation that distorts reality,” and that it has “above all a deliberate intention of undermining the reputation of the Democratic Security Policy.”
The minister accused HRW of “blatantly ignoring the efforts of government and security forces to strictly enforce human rights,” and points out that HRW did not ask for any information, statistics or comments from the Ministry of Defence while drafting the report.
The minister went on to say that he had canceled a meeting planned with HRW’s Americas director, Jose Miguel Vivanco, for Wednesday afternoon, and that the government would release its own report proving HRW’s conclusions to be wrong.
The controversial report, titled “Paramilitaries’ heirs: The new face of violence in Colombia,” was release Wednesday morning. It examines the rise of new gangs in Colombia, which have taken the place of disbanded paramilitary coalition the AUC. The report criticises Uribe’s government, which it says has “failed to treat the rise of the successor groups with the seriousness the problem requires.”
HRW’s criticism is particularly painful for President Uribe’s administration, because it has staked its reputation on the supposed great success of its Democratic Security Policy, which was intended to increase security in the country and disband illegal armed groups such as the AUC.
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