This is undoubtedly one of the largest international demonstrations planned with the aim of making public the truth concerning Colombia’s ‘other’ history. The organisers and the thousands that have joined the massive mobilisation believe that it is time to put an end to the impunity and violence. They will be present in the Netherlands on 5 April at the International Criminal Court.
Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marín
They want to disclose the truth concerning Colombia’s ‘other’ history that till today those who have been associated or part of its government have been seeking to hide or distort. A government whose various agencies do not appear to be working towards putting an end to impunity or towards encouraging the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of various crimes.
The mobilisation is an initiative of the Netherlands’ Colombian Citizens Diplomacy Collective, along with 19 other groups from Europe and America. They have invited “Colombian and European citizens to join a peaceful march from the Colombian Embassy in The Hague to the headquarters of the International Criminal Court, with the objective of denouncing the systematic killing of social leaders in Colombia.”
The initiative has been joined by the different branches of Colombia Humanaa, collectives, political, and social organizations in Colombia as well as non-Colombian sympathizers from the Three Americas, Canada and Europe, and all those who consider that in Colombia justice has been hijacked by other branches of the state.
The senator and former presidential candidate in Colombia, Gustavo Petro, will be also present in the Netherlands on 5 April at the International Criminal Court to request that it investigate crimes against humanity committed in the South American country. The leader of Colombia Humana, will be accompanied by senators Gustavo Bolivar and Antonio Sanguino.
Richard Maok Riaño Botina is also expected to be there. He was the first detective in Colombia to expose paramilitary infiltration of the Office of the Prosecutor, the police, the army, the security services (DAS), the prison services (INPEC) and Congress. This he did in 2002 and since then he has been in exile in Canada.
The meeting in The Hague is decisive at a time when the current government is seeking to end the Havana Peace Accords signed in 2016 and violation of human rights and repression of social protest have increased. Proof of this is the systematic murder of social, environmental, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders and members of Colombia Humana along with defenders of human rights and journalists.
Faced by this, there has been an unsatisfactory response on the part of the current government headed by Ivan Duque who represents the extreme right party Democratic Centre led by Senator Alvaro Uribe in whose previous government (2002-10) serious crimes against humanity were committed.
Senator Uribe is himself being investigated for his involvement in these crimes and for corruption and links with drug trafficking and paramilitary organisations among other things.
Those involved in this giant rally will present cases in which they and / or their relatives or others in Colombia have fallen victim to assassinations, persecutions, land evictions, displacements and other crimes.
In London, the office of Colombia Humana – which since the elections of 2018 has been growing – has emerged as a body keen to engage in criticism and broad debate on the problems regarding Colombia and its political organisation; and it has been participating in events that depict the true reality in Latin America.
For this reason, dozens of Colombians are leaving England’s capital with their own diary of activities, accompanying the senator and lending support to his goals in the Netherlands.
The same will happen in other countries such as France, Germany and Holland where the members of Colombia Humana (specially in France), collectives, political, and social organizations, have organized artistic activities, press conferences and information and awareness initiatives seeking to raise awareness and remind people about what has happened.
The Netherlands’ Colombian Citizens Diplomacy Collective says that “the -non-partisan- citizens’ demonstration will denounce before the international community —headed by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court— the murder of social leaders in our country. The Colombian State’s failure to respond is generating a situation of impunity with crimes against humanity, which represents a threat to the peace agreement in Colombia”. The collective adds that the invitation is extended “to citizens residing all over the world to demonstrate in front of their consulates or embassies. Other collectives will demonstrate at the UN headquarters in New York City, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica.”
Gustavo Petro has invited all Colombians “to Latin America’s huge rally to The Hague, The Netherlands, on 5 April’’ to show massive support for “getting the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes committed against humanity since its inception in Colombia’’.
“The Colombian justice system,” says the senator, “doesn’t want to investigate. The Attorney General of the nation, which is the agent responsible for investigating par excellence is a totally corrupt man who has been on the payroll of Odebrecht and has used the state – the Prosecutor’s Office – to cover up crimes of corruption: he is, therefore, not willing to investigate crimes against humanity committed in our country. The only other recourse given the attacks on the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia is the International Criminal Court.”
Gustavo Petro is the leader of Colombia Humana and has been one of Colombia’s best senators and was the first to expose the so-called ‘parapolitics’ and ‘false positives’ scandals; and he also helped expose the political arm of FARC among many other issues of national interest.
Petro was mayor of Bogotá and candidate for the presidency in the last elections in an unfair fight in which the media treated him poorly and openly sympathised and empathised with the current president of Colombia. He has waged a hard and relentless battle against those seeking to remove him from the political scene as he recorded the highest number of votes ever as left-wing candidate (more than 8 million) and he represents a real political threat for the far right in Colombia.
Lies, defamation, set-ups, attacks by some media organisations and journalists, betrayals, vendettas and so forth have been part of this brand of ‘lawfare’ for which an end is sought, not to mention the fact that his life is also the object of threats and part of his family is in exile. (Twitter: @uribemonic)
(Translated by Nigel Conibear)
The Broad Committee in Support of the 5 April March to The Hague:
- Colectivo De Diplomacia Ciudadana (Netherlands)
- Colectiva De Mujeres Refugiadas, Exiliadas Y Migradas (Spain)
- I.V (Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Mediterráneo, Sweden Canada, Costa Rica)
- Convergencia Colombia Humana Internacional
- Colombia Humana (Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium)
- Vamos Por Los Derechos Internacional (Spain, Greece, England)
- Ciudadanías Por La Paz (France)
- Circulo Del Trastierro (France)
- France Amerique Latine (France)
- Asolatino (Switzerland)
- Asociación Maloka (Switzerland)
- Ciudadanías Libres De Colombia En Ginebra (Switzerland)
- Intal (Belgium)
- Coordinadora Latinoamericana
- Comité Daniel Guillard (Belgium)
- Unidos Por La Paz (Germany)
- Bloque Larinoamericano (Germany)
- Kolumbien Kampagne (Germany)
- Colectivo Mujer Diáspora (England)
- Colectivo De Colombianos Por La Paz (Belgium)