Colombian academics and students call on international colleagues to help STOP THE VIOLENCE!
Bogotá, 5 May 2021
As Colombian scholars, students, and professionals alarmed by the violence that has erupted in recent days, we call on our colleagues around the world to help us bring about an inclusive dialogue that will end the violence and unrest.
Please sign the letter below and share it with as many colleagues as possible.
Dear President Duque,
Though most of the protests taking place since 28 April 2021 have been peaceful, some have ended in violence against citizens and the police, as well as damage to public and private infrastructure. We echo our Colombian colleagues’ rejection of all acts of violence and abuses of human rights.
We condemn especially the excessive and often lethal use of force by police. According to the Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, 24 people have already died (as of 5 May) during the unrest, including many in clashes with police and military forces. Reports from NGOs suggest the number of casualties may be even higher, while there are also numerous allegations of disappearances, rapes and sexual violence, assaults, and arbitrary arrests. We call on the Colombian government to respect human rights, guarantee the right to peaceful protest, and ensure the welfare of protestors. Fair and transparent access to judicial processes must also be guaranteed.
We also condemn all types of violence against police and security forces, governmental institutions, and public and private infrastructure. There are reports of attacks against human rights observers and medical staff, blocks on the supply of essential goods, and disruptions to transport that affect both patients and health professionals despite the ongoing pandemic. Freedom of assembly and protest cannot and should not be accompanied by violence.
We urge the Colombian government to immediately initiate a national dialogue that can bring about a peaceful de-escalation of this situation as soon as possible.