Whereas the people of Colombia have experienced very serious human rights violations, including murder, forced disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution at the hands of illegal paramilitary groups which have also forced millions of peasants, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples off their lands, with the result being that Colombia has 3.8 million internally-displaced people, more than any other country;
And whereas the Colombian military and police have on many occasions supported and assisted the paramilitary operations, and recently-revealed evidence has shown that numerous political office-holders, including some very close to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, have collaborated with and supported the paramilitaries, constituting what has been termed “parapolitica”;
And whereas a law called the Justice and Peace Law, developed and promoted by the Uribe Administration, provides that paramilitary group members, including leaders, may receive short sentences in return for confessing their participation in murders, disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, in practice leaving their paramilitary structures largely intact, so that human rights abuses continue to be ordered and carried out by supposedly demobilized paramilitaries;
And whereas the result has been an effective impunity for those crimes committed by the paramilitaries and those political figures and members of state security forces who have supported them and enabled them to carry out their murderous conduct and land grabs;
And whereas the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (LIMPAL), Colombia Section, has brought this situation to our attention, and we wish to go on record to support efforts to prevent impunity and pursue peace effectively;
Recalling WILPF Congress resolutions of 1998 and 2004 on Colombia The 29th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting July 21-27, 2007 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia calls upon the Colombian government to investigate all human rights abuses by the paramilitaries and the Colombian armed forces, including the police, and to sanction those responsible; to apply the laws of the land to protect those whose lives and properties are threatened, and to end impunity for crimes committed; to return lands taken forcibly from peasants, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples to them; and in all respects to honour the goal of truth, justice and reparations in the application of the paramilitary demobilization law.