Colombia’s government and the UN reached an agreement that will allow the UN to participate in the cleansing of intelligence files, as recommended by a law ratified in March 2009.
The agreement was announced on Wednesday by Felipe Muñoz, the director of Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS, reported newspaper El Tiempo on Thursday.
According to Muñoz, the agreement was made as part of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and DAS will be used as a ‘pilot’ example for a process which may be extended to the Colombian Armed Forces and Police.
The law passed in March 2009 was created as a response to recent scandals that shook the intelligence institution when it was revealed that DAS had been illegally spying on certain politicians, NGOs, journalists and Supreme Court judges.
Among other things, this law obliges that reviews be conducted on existing files and prohibits the collection of information on “gender, race, national or family origin, language, religionand political or philosophical opinion as well as membership to a trade, social or human rights organization or in order to promote the interests of any political party. “
According to Muñoz, once this process has begun, DAS will become “a pioneering intelligence agency which demonstrates the unwavering will of the Colombian government and … it’s move towards an entity that respects citizenship rights.”
Muñoz is expected to be in Washington until next Tuesday, largely explaining the steps taken by the Colombian government to debug DAS.
On Monday, Muñoz will accompany the Vice President Francisco Santos and Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos at a meeting requested the Inter-American Commission, to discuss the same subject as well as NGO safeguard guarantees in Colombia.