|Photos of the disappeared on a Bogotá sidewalk.|
|A passersby look at photos of the |
disappeared on a Bogotá sidewalk.
Political killings, land mines, kidnappings and forced disappearances, child soldiers, attacks against human rights activists, violence against women and girls, forced abortions...that's just part of the grim list of rights abuses in several recent reports on Colombia.
So, it's striking to consider that such a troubled country might actually be improving.
The reports by Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department make an interesting contrast in half-empty vs. half-full perspectives. AI's report offers a bleak list of grave offenses, by the military, guerrillas, paramilitaries and the regular military. Still, it allows, the Victims and Land Restitution Law "was an important step in acknowledging the rights of many victims of the conflict" and returning land to the victims.
|Activists hang up a temporary photo exhibit about |
human rights on La Plaza del Periodista.
The U.S. State Dep't report covers a lot of the same points as does Amnesty's, but also emphasizes structural problems, including "impunity and an inefficient judiciary, corruption, and societal discrimination." Still Washington gives the Santos administration credit for trying, such as "continued efforts to improve respect for human rights and prosecute and punish officials, including members of the security services, who committed abuses..."
Both reports include long lists of horrors committed by the country's various outlaw groups, which include guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug gangs. They kidnap, plant land mines, force women to abort, recruit children, displace civilians, and on and on. In one case, paramilitaries reportedly cut off the limbs of living victims.
|A 'human rights' photo exhibit glorifies Che Guevara, |
who helped found the hemisphere's only remaining dictatorship and wholesale rights trampler.
So, it is telling perhaps that Colombia's dominant storyline has switched from violence to sports, economic growth and entertainment.
|The same exhibit labels Colombian ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe as a 'dictator'. Uribe was elected twice and stepped down after two terms.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours