Colombia this Week -- December 6, 2002

Fri 29- UNHCR Commissioner stresses women's role on peace;UNICEF award for Floro Tunubalá.

·During his visit to Barrancabermeja UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers calls on Colombians to be more sympathetic to IDP's, saying that women should play a major role in work for peace.

·The UNICEF and the Italian Parliament makes an award to Floro Tunubalá, Governor of Cauca, for his commitment to and defence of the rights of indigenous people and children.

·Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio asks the Congress to approve the extension of the "Zonas de Rehabilitación y Consolidación", underlining that all the operations carried out by the Armed Forces in those areas are under the strict scrutiny of law.

·Vanguardia Liberal reports the "Bazarte", an event organised by NGO Organizacion Femenina Popular, (OFP) in Barrancabermeja, which last for 6 days and is expect to mobilise more than 4000 women.

·La Vanguardia from Barcelona reports the problems that Colombians face to get into or organise in European countries, claiming that the problem is due to a "new filter" introduced by the German Government into the Schengen Information System at Strasbourg.


Sat 30 - Ecuador to support Uribe Vélez's peace initiative; FARC says Uribe refusing to talk.

·Lucio Gutiérrez, elected new Ecuadorian President declares that his Government will support Uribe Velez's proposal to negotiate with the armed groups through the UN.

·FARC issues a statement accusing Uribe Vélez's Government of avoiding talks and lacking political will on a possible humanitarian exchange of prisoners with this group.

·According to El Espectador, more explosives have been found during new operations in the National University in Bogotá.

·Dominique de Villepin, French Foreign Minister, confirms that France supports the Colombian President's proposal for humanitarian exchange of imprisoned members of FARC and those kidnapped by this group)

·Jorge Rojas, Personero, (municipal human rights ombudsman) of Medellín, says the authorities must improve social conditions in order to prevent children being enrolled in armed groups. A new study in this city shows that 86 % of the children enrolled voluntarily.

·Juan Luis Londoño, Colombian Health Minister, says UNICEF and a UN Commission will guarantee a vaccination campaign in the areas affected by the armed conflict. 400.000 Colombian children are expected to benefit from the programme.


Sun 01 - Paramilitaries kill eight civilians after beginning of cease-fire; 2 Councillors killed.

·An armed group massacres eight civilians in a rural area of San Carlos (Southeast Antioquia), El Colombiano reports. Authorities blame a dissident group of AUC for the killings.

·Henry Castro and Jesús Eudoro Cristancho, councillors from Anapoima (Cundinamarca) found dead in a rural area of this municipality.

·The US request for extradition of the AUC commanders could be an obstacle to negotiations with this group, American analysts suggest.

·Robin Kirk of Human Rights Watch (HRW) fears that negotiations between Colombian Government and AUC may lead to impunity for those responsible for crimes against humanity.

·Despite government control of the area, local residents of Comuna 13 in Medellín are not confident that police will remain in this area, fearing more violence to come, the Washington Post reports.


Mon 02 -New legislation would permit Army to investigate civilians; Reporter shot dead.

·Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) says that despite the recommendation made by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Colombian Senate is due to approve new legislation that will give unlimited powers to the Attorney General's office and would permit Colombian Army forces to investigate civilians.

·Gimbler Perdomo, Colombian radio journalist and ex- municipal councillor, killed by gunmen in Gigante (Huila). Armed groups have killed eight journalists in Colombia this year.

·US Secretary of State Colin Powell says United States is seeking support from the Colombian Government at the UN Security Council for support on the UN resolution on Iraq.

·Colombian NGO Sembrar issues an Urgent Action for the safety of the inhabitants of Mico Ahumado, at the municipality of Morales (Sur de Bolivar) after some witnesses reportedly saw 400 armed men identified as paramilitaries moving towards the area.

·Another 260 families displaced in San Luis (Antioquia) after clashes between FARC and AUC. Vice-President Francisco Santos promises government aid while visiting the communities.

·The Times says that British military jamming devices and other technology has been given to Uribe Vélez and senior diplomats resident in Colombia for fear of car bomb attacks inspired by IRA tactics.

·Judge Jairo Acosta orders Colombian media not to publish any of the evidence given in the case of the three Irish men after the trial has concluded, El Tiempo reports. The gag orders do not apply to international media.


Tues 03 - Colombia suspends trial of IRA suspects; Church fears growing displacement.

·The trial of three Irishmen accused of training FARC members has been suspended until February after prosecutors fail to present two key witnesses. The suspension may result in the dropping of charges if doubts about the prosecution's case persist, according to The Times.

·Action by Churches Together (ACT) reports from Florencia (Caquetá) that weeklong roadblocks by armed groups are preventing the arrival of basic food supplies into this region, displacing hundreds of people.

·PDPMM (Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Magdalena Medio) launches the first three projects on education, cultural and productive programmes, of the Magdalena Medio' Peace Laboratory, the bulletin "Pertinentes" reports.

·According to the BBC, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has given a warning on human rights abuses to the Colombian Government during this week's visit to Colombia, asking President Uribe Vélez for a greater effort to tackle this problem.

·Juvencio Lozano, ex-Governor of Chocó, kidnapped by guerrilla group ERP (People's Revolutionary Army) at a roadblock in San José del Palmar (Chocó).

·Joaquin Miranda, President of the European Development Commission, and other members of the European Parliament, sign a public statement expressing indignation at the release of ex-Colombian Minister Carlos Arturo Marulanda, soon after his extradition from Spain to Colombia.

·Uribe Velez offers the post of Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OEA) to Horacio Serpa, former presidential candidate.

Weds 04 - Powell to recommend more Colombian aid; Mayor killed in Cundinamarca.

·Powell promises Uribe Vélez to recommend US Congress more funding for "Plan Colombia" in addition to the already requested budget of $ 573 m for 2003.

·Jesús Antonio Núñez, mayor of Ambalema (Cundinamarca) killed by and armed group. 13 mayors have been killed this year, El Colombiano reports.

·José Antonio Salafranca, Vice-President of the European Parliament, supports Uribe's peace initiatives during a European delegation visit to Colombia, underlining that European countries plead for dialogue between all parties as the only way to resolve the conflict in Colombia.

·National Council of Economical and Social Policy (CONPES) authorises the Government to approve $3.150 m in foreign debt in order to transform the Colombian public administration.

·Horst Koehler, Head of the International Monetary Fund (FMI) is visiting Colombia this week to make a fact-finding mission after Uribe Vélez's administration obtains a $9.8 billion multilateral loan package.

·Foreign Minister Carolina Barco says she does not know about any other alternative programmes than fumigation to eradicate illegal crops in Colombia, according to El Espectador.


Thurs 05 - AUC's Metro Block declares Christmas cease-fire; Councillor Killed in Huila.

·Medellín's Metro Block, one of the most important AUC dissident groups that is refusing to participate in possible peace negotiations with the Government, says in a statement that it will observe a cease-fire from December 20 to January 10.

·Liliana Supelano, Councillor for the municipality of Gigante (Huila) killed by suspected FARC members, El Tiempo reports.

·Alirio Uribe Muñoz, Colombian lawyer and member of the NGO Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo has been awarded the international Martin Ennals Prize Award for Human Rights Defenders for his work with the victims of the Colombian conflict over the last ten years.

·James LeMoyne, Special Adviser on Colombia to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has been in Colombia this week preparing to seek a partial accord with FARC to free kidnap victims, according to the Financial Times.

·Three unarmed police are killed by paramilitaries in a roadblock between Concepción and Malaga (Santander). According to a police spokesperson, this breaks the promised cease-fire.

·Luis Carlos Restrepo, Colombian High Commissioner for Peace, says that an exploratory Commission would evaluate possible talks with paramilitaries to begin dialogue and negotiations with this armed group.


Fri 06 - Alarming figures on Colombian Emigration; Attorney office charges FARC leaders.

·Colombian NGO CODHES (Consejería para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento) and UNICEF present a new report concluding that between 1996 and 2001, 1,360,000 Colombians fled the country.

·The Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office brings charges against FARC leaders for an assassination attempt on Alvaro Uribe Vélez during his electoral campaign in Barranquilla this year.

·Fabio Villa, President of the National Federation for Councillors (FENACON), reports that armed groups have killed 60 councillors this year and 1500 are displaced from their municipalities, urging the Government to provide more security for them.

·Army reports the death of a pilot in a Black Hawk accident during a rescue operation in Yarumal (Antioquia).

·Promising more security, Uribe Vélez urges Colombians to help Army forces with more information and new taxes. He also asks the Congress to approve new legislation during an official ceremony with the Armed Forces.

·Colombian Senate approves the text of the referendum to be held next March but rejects President Uribe's proposal to dissolve Congress.


Colombia This Week is a news summary produced and distributed by ABColombia Group. Sources include daily Colombian, US, European and Latin American newspapers, and reports from non-governmental organisations and the UN System. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the ABColombia Group.


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