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Colombian security forces severely beat at least 17 citizens, raped 14 women, and shot dead 18 participants of the anti-government protests held from April to June 2021.
In the report on Human Rights presented to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that the Colombian military and police have committed abuses against the civilian population since President Ivan Duque came to power in 2018.
During the mass anti-government protests held from April to June 2021, for instance, Colombian security forces severely beat at least 17 citizens, raped 14 women, and shot dead 18 demonstrators, the Blinken report noted.
In the abovementioned period, Colombia’s Center for Research and Education of the Populace (CINEP) also reported 85 cases of arbitrary detentions, which included 394 victims, and other NGOs estimated that there were almost 1,000 cases of such kind throughout the year.
From January to July 2021, the National Attorney General’s Office registered six other cases of alleged aggravated homicide and 28 intentional killings of civilians committed by State agents. In August of that year, security forces were also involved in 19 cases of torture, which left some 40 victims.
Omayra Sanchez, a 13 yr old girl who was trapped in construction waste after a landslide caused by the eruption of the volcano Nevado del Ruiz, which ruined the village of Armero, Colombia 1985. Rescuers were unable to rescue her. She died about 60 hours after being trapped pic.twitter.com/AaDv3PgsoO
Although the Duque administration swears that it has been investigating the officials who committed such abuses, most cases continued to experience delays or failures in prosecution proceedings. The military and police members involved in torture cases, for instance, were generally tried in civilian courts rather than by military magistrates.
Paramilitary groups dedicated to drug trafficking activities have been also significant perpetrators of human rights abuses, including politically motivated murders and extortions. So far this year, such groups have murdered 51 social leaders and 14 former guerrilla fighters who signed the 2016 Peace Agreement.
NGOs and violence victims condemned that some Colombian security forces collaborate with or tolerate the activities of organized-crime groups. From January to July 2021, at least 15 police officers were formally accused of having ties with such criminals.