Colombia: President Alvaro Uribe Seeks to Restrict Un Human Rights Group, Say Diplomats

NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, September 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

Colombia: President Alvaro Uribe Seeks to Restrict Un Human Rights Group, Say Diplomats


Foreign diplomats and rights activists have alleged that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has sought to restrict the activities of the UN human rights office that has been stationed in Bogota since 1997. Diplomats cited by the Associated Press said that Uribe was trying to remove the UN agency's right to publicly criticize human rights abuses in Colombia and to publish an annual report on the hemisphere's quantitatively worst zone for human rights violations. Diplomats say the agency is particularly vulnerable to pressure from the Uribe government since its four-year mandate expires in October. As human rights groups have heightened their criticism of his administration, the president and those close to him have expressed greater hostility to those groups.

UN group's need for charter renewal makes it vulnerable

The Bogota office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), one of 34 such missions around the world, has verified 8,100 human rights abuses in Colombia since it was founded by a convention that the government of Colombia signed in Geneva in 1997, implicating rebels, paramilitaries, and government forces alike in Colombia's four-decade-old civil war. The agency recently revealed details of the killings of 29 civilians in the last 18 months, including pregnant women and children, by security forces who claimed the victims were rebels (see for example NotiSur, 2005-03-18). Rights groups say the UN's work helped lead to the arrest of 18 soldiers, an embarrassing development for the hard-liner Uribe.

Now Uribe's government has been lobbying foreign governments to drop the agency's independent monitoring role and limit its work to technical support for the Colombian government, according to the diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Washington, meanwhile, stands out in its support of Uribe, its firmest ally in South America. Despite a March letter from 61 foreign and Colombian human rights and development organizations asking US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support the agency's current mission, US Embassy officials in Bogota said Washington will not get involved.

A group of 80 US Congress members also sent a letter on Aug. 3 to Secretary Rice, saying the UNHCHR should not leave Colombia and calling for the State Department to "express to the Colombian government, with strength and firmness, that the State Department fully supports the renewal of the UN's mandate in Colombia." Congressional representatives like Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) signed the letter.

European diplomats say Uribe's government has intensified its campaign recently by rejecting the top choice to take over the agency--Scott Campbell, deputy director of Washington-based advocacy group Global Rights, who did field work in the Congo for the UNHCHR. Instead, the UNHCHR named Uruguayan sociologist Juan Pablo Corlazzoli to the post in the first week of July.

Neither Campbell nor Corlazzoli returned phone calls and emails seeking comment, and Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos refused to confirm the veto. But one diplomat familiar with the selection process said Santos told him that Campbell was perceived as biased because he worked for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have criticized Uribe's rights record.

Corlazzoli, who took office in August, has experience with the Mision de Verificacion de las Naciones Unidas para Guatemala (MINUGUA) and played a role in the implementation of the Guatemalan Peace Accords (see NotiCen, 2001-01-18 and 2004-12-02). He succeeds Michael Fruhling, who had prior conflicts with Uribe.

Bogota daily El Tiempo quoted a government source as saying the UN office should not "limit itself to pointing out errors and assuming a critical position, but should bring solutions."

The Colombian government has complained the UN rights reports are unduly harsh and fail to give enough credit to Uribe's get-tough security policies for a sharp drop in reported ransom kidnappings and homicides, a common political defense Uribe makes of his "democratic security" policy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Colombia: President Alvaro Uribe Seeks to Restrict Un Human Rights Group, Say Diplomats
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.