Colombia to Repair Police Repression Victims in 2021

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Colombia to make reparations for victims of police repression in Social Movement of 2021

President Gustavo Petro of Colombia announced this Friday that his country has committed to repair the victims of police repression in the anti-government protests of 2021. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had earlier highlighted the “disproportionate” and “lethal” response of the riot squad.

Between April and June 2021, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against the increase in taxes for the middle class during the most serious phase of the pandemic. This caused the departure of the Minister of Finance and put President Ivan Duque (2018-2022) in check. The international community then rejected police violence against the protesters.

President Petro – who had earlier supported the demonstrations as a Senator – upon coming to power in August 2022, requested to suspend the arrest warrants of people imprisoned during the protests. The opposition rejected this initiative, considering it benevolent towards “terrorists”.

Delegates from the IACHR then visited Bogotá to follow up on the response of the Colombian State on its recommendations and presented a 48-page report with complaints of human rights violations. During the presentation of a report this Friday, the president of the Commission, Julissa Mantilla, highlighted the “advances in the investigations of crimes committed” by uniformed officers and civilians.

President Petro has now accepted the recommendations of the IACHR and made the announcement on Twitter: “The State undertakes to make reparation for the victims it left behind on the occasion of the repression that it unleashed against the social movement.”

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