Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-09-07-Speech-4-180"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, two minutes are hardly sufficient to relate the appalling figures which describe events in Columbia. I will mention but a few, listed in the last e-mail I received from Amnesty International: 50 civilians were killed last month by paramilitaries; 400 civilian massacres took place during 1999; 3 500 victims of police crimes; 1 000 abductions; 250 000 Colombian civilians have been thrown out of their homes for political reasons. In addition, there has been another massacre in the rural community La Unión, the third in three years. We have a moral obligation to declare that this massacre was perfectly planned, that, nowadays, everything that happens in Columbia happens for a reason. So what can we do? Wait for the next massacre in La Unión or another village to produce yet another resolution expressing our grief or, as some of the Members have suggested – and rightly so – make our voice heard, loud and clear? In my opinion, Parliament must now find the courage to make its voice heard, for, to make reference to Amnesty International once again, all the parties taking part in the conflict are responsible for the violations of human rights in Columbia, but one of them – the paramilitaries – has a greater responsibility. Indeed, the paramilitary groups are crushing the civilian population in a lethal vice. As has been pointed out, President Pastrana appeared before this House and offered to make a substantial effort to bring all the parties to dialogue. It is Parliament's responsibility to call for a system of rules and rights to be re-established, within the Colombian State, most importantly, as well as condemning the current situation in Columbia. The paramilitaries act in agreement and in cahoots with the army, which in many cases – including this one – draw up the death lists. To date, there has been no serious attempt to bring the heads of this alleged paramilitary army to justice – for example Carlos Castaños, who continues to broadcast his interviews on Colombian radio with impunity. We therefore reiterate our support for a peaceful solution and, without hypocrisy, we call upon the Colombian Government to reflect upon the tragic actions of the paramilitaries. Lastly, we call upon the Commission and the Member States to employ all the appropriate political resources to preserve the security of the civilian organisations involved in upholding human rights."@en1

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