The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) announced Monday that it would investigate the actions of Colombia’s security forces during agricultural strikes and social protests between July and October.
The IACHR stated that it was “very concerned” about Colombia’s situation and that it would hold hearings between October 28 and November 1 in Washington DC in order to discuss alleged repression and criminalization of social protests and protestors.
Specifically, the commission is responding to the deaths of four peasants in July in the eastern state of Norte de Santander, near Venezuela, and reports of police brutality as severe as firing shots from a helicopter at a peaceful protest by indigenous Colombians near the Pacific coast last week.
“This is extremely delicate and disturbing,” said Emilio Alvarez, Executive Secretary of the IACHR.
Over 120,000 of Colombia’s indigenous population took to the streets to demand that the “Colombian government treat the indigenous as a priority and not as a burden,” organizers told Colombia Reports
“If the information is confirmed [about such violence], this would be extremely serious,” continued Alvarez to local media.
During the meetings, the organization will discuss strikes and social protest, the current human rights situation, violations of rights by paramilitary groups, and issues concerning leaders of Afro-Colombian groups.
Another topic that will be discussed at this meeting will be the use of aircraft drones to spy on or attack different groups of people remotely.