The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) called on the Colombian government to cease repression against protests in the framework of the National Strike, which began on April 28 and to guarantee the right to demonstrate.
In their exhortation, both entities expressed, separately, their concern that the Colombian security forces so far have left over 20 dead, according to the balance of some humanitarian organizations, and over 30 according to the National Strike Committee, in addition to dozens of injured and missing people.
Colombians Denounce Escalation Of Police Brutality In Cali
Both the UN and the EU called for an investigation into the deaths during the demonstrations and for those responsible to be punished.
"The EU condemns the acts of violence, which target the legitimate rights to demonstrate freedom of assembly and expression. It is very important that these rights are respected," said European External Action Service spokesman Peter Stano.
Stano called for an end to the escalating violence and expressed the EU's "confidence" in Colombian institutions to "investigate and bring to jail those responsible for any abuse and violation of human rights."
The UN Office for Human Rights denounced Tuesday that Colombian security forces have exercised an "excessive use of force" during the wave of protests in the South American country.
Responsible for the mission of this United Nations agency in Cali, one of the cities where most violent incidents have occurred, "have witnessed the excessive use of force by the police," said office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado at a press conference.
The security forces "used live ammunition, beat demonstrators and made arrests, in the context of a tense and volatile situation in which some participants in the protests have also been violent," the spokeswoman added.
"In the face of the extremely tense situation, with soldiers and police deployed, we call for calm and remind the authorities of their responsibility to protect human rights," the spokeswoman stressed, ahead of the general call for new demonstrations this Wednesday, May 5.
The spokeswoman added that "human rights defenders also reported that they have been harassed and threatened."
According to the Colombian Ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, on Monday night an official of the entity, together with one from the Attorney General's Office—in charge of investigating irregularities of officials—and three human rights defenders, were attacked by the public forces while they were assisting detainees in Cali.
After the announcement of the withdrawal of the tax reform on Sunday, mobilizations and blockades continued in the main cities facing joint repression by the Police and the Army, Cali being one of the cities where the demonstrators resisted the onslaught of the repressive forces the most.
The Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, assured that "Colombia faces the terrorist threat of criminal organizations, which disguised as vandals, harass cities such as Cali, Bogota, Medellin, Pereira, Manizales and Pasto to destabilize" to justify the repression, murders and the order for the Army to intervene against the protests.
On the other hand, the UN denounced that a human rights commission was a victim of "threats and aggressions, as well as shots fired by the police" while monitoring the situation in Cali due to the protests that have arisen in the midst of the national strike.
"While we were monitoring (the) human rights situation in Cali, there were no direct shots fired at (the) UN Human Rights team," said representative Juliette de Rivero.
"However, other members of the commission received threats and aggressions, as well as shots fired by the police, but no one was hit," said De Rivero.
The Attorney General's Office opened an investigation into the attack on the humanitarian commission in Cali at the Fray Damian police station when it was about to verify citizens who were captured during the day of marches.