UN human rights arm condemns murder of officials in Colombia

UN human rights arm condemns murder of officials in Colombia

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today condemned a spate of rebel murders of local politicians in different parts of Colombia.

A statement released by OHCHR cited information it received indicating that Blanca Inés Marín, the Mayor of San José del Palmar, was killed on 6 July and her body was thrown into an abyss. The following day, the politician Antonio Colorado, from Valle, was murdered as he left the headquarters of Radical Change, a political party. Three days later, on 10 July, Argemiro Medina and Ofelia Betancur, both council members in Doncello, were killed in their homes.

The Office also received information indicating that various armed men were directed to the homes of seven of the eight councilmen that live in the municipality of Doncello. Five councilmen were spared because they were not home when illegal armed groups entered.

Members of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP) were responsible for the crimes and death threats against the councilmen of Doncello, according to the authorities.

The Office urged the members of the FARC-EP to respect the fundamental rights of all people that occupy public offices or participate in the electoral process. It pointed out that killing civilians constitutes a serious breach of international law, including the Geneva Conventions. OHCHR also expressed its solidarity with the relatives and friends of the victims.