A coalition of more than 295 NGOs from the United States and Colombia issued a recommendation Thursday to the US State Department to cut aid to the Colombian police forces in response to alleged human rights abuses.
The coalition argued for the revision of assistance to Colombia’s local authority forces in response to reports of police brutality against protesters during the agrarian strikes that blocked roads and created food and fuel supply crises across Colombia in August and September.
Over the summer, protest organizers in the central state of Boyaca accused police of breaking into homes without cause, setting property on fire, beating peaceful protesters for no reason, and employing excessive force and tactics banned by human rights laws to deal with roadblocks.
During the protests five farmers were killed in clashes with police, another four were disappeared, and 485 people were reportedly injured.
In support of a cessation of Colombian police support, the NGO coalition referenced the United States’ Leahy Law, a 1997 law that prohibits US support for proven violators of human rights abroad, to add legal strength to their argument.
The US federal budget included $280 million in 2013 for various programs supporting Colombia’s military and police forces, many of which are heavily related to anti-narcotic operations as part of the United States’ long-running “War on Drugs.”
- Coalición de ONG pedirá a EE.UU. recorte de ayudas a Colombia (Caracol Radio)
- U.S. Aid to Colombia, All Programs, 2009-2014(Just the facts)