PBI Alert on Attacks on Humanitarian Workers in Chocó


We at PBI-Colombia wish to express our absolute condemnation of the death and disappearance of Jorge Luis Mazo Palacios, parish priest of Bellavista, and Iñigo Igiluz Tellería, of the Spanish NGO Paz y Tercer Mundo on November 18, 1999, in Quibdó, as they returned from a humanitarian aid mission in the middle Atrato region of Chocó. According to the communique by the Diocese of Quibdó of November 19, these deaths were caused by an attack which we at PBI consider unacceptable from any angle, whether it was a negligent homicide or a deliberate attack.

We wish to express our grief and profound solidarity with the families of the deceased and with the institutions with which they worked, the Catholic church, in the diocese of Quibdó, and the NGO Paz y Tercer Mundo.

As an international organization with a presence in Colombia since 1994, we understand that this grave attack on these humanitarian workers and human rights defenders (both Colombian and foreign) poses tremendous difficulties for all the international initiatives which, together with the efforts of so many Colombians, seek to improve the critical situation of the displaced population and of human rights in Colombia.

As an international NGO we address the Government of Colombia in order to ask that these events be investigated and clarified, and that specific and immediate measures be taken to ensure that these events not be repeated. As an international NGO, we also address the Government of Spain, the Governments with diplomatic representation in Colombia, the UN agencies, and others, to continue their usual efforts, and stepped-up efforts if they can, to collaborate with the Government of Colombia and international institutions, to clarify these events.


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