A Colombian human rights NGO on Monday criticized Juan Manuel Santos’ commitment to human rights while he was serving as defense minister from 2006 to 2009.
“The national government and specifically the current president when he was defense minister, promised a zero tolerance policy of extrajudicial killings by the security forces that was not strictly enforced,” complained Liliana Uribe from the NGO, Corporacion Juridica Libertad headquartered in Medellin.
According to the representative, 2010 saw 17 civilians executed by security forces in Colombia including six adults and 11 juveniles.
Of the 17, Uribe said that four adults and two minors were executed by security forces and dressed up as guerrillas to increase combat statistics, a term known as “false-positive” killing.
The human rights official also spoke of persisting violence against trade unionists and human rights workers. She reported 96 attacks on human rights organizations from August 2010 to March 15, 2011 including 19 murders, three forced disappearances, individual and collective threats, as well as data theft.
The NGO also reported 51 murders of trade unionists last year and four so far this year.
Coordination Colombia-Europa reported in 2010 that 3,084 extra-judicial killings were recorded since former President Alvaro Uribe implemented his “democratic security” policy in which the current president was involved as defense minister.
Francisco Echeverri, the director of human rights and international human rights in the Ministry of Foreign Relations under the Santos administration, relayed a message from the President reiterating his commitment to uphold human rights and his determination for the success of land restitution laws.