Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
We are writing to you as citizens and residents of The Netherlands, to express our deepest concern about the human rights violations and repression that has taken place in Colombia since the start of nationwide strikes and protests on 28 April to this day.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) has expressed its alarm at the situation in Colombia. At this moment, civil society organizations and international institutions along the country are gathering information on the extent of the repression. Allegedly, according to Temblores, Colombian NGO documenting state violence, there have been more than two thousand cases of police brutality producing more than forty deaths. There has been more than a thousand arbitrary arrests, and eighteen victims of sexual assault by the public force. More than 400 people are reported as having disappeared.
In the light of this state violence and the history of Dutch support for peace and dialogue in Colombia, we urge you to defend the gains of the 2016 Colombia’s Peace Agreement and to denounce further abuses by state forces. For this reason, we urgently request a joint statement by our respective Ministries that, 1) Strongly rejects the abuses committed by the public force against the civilian population in Colombia, 2) requests to the Government of President Iván Duque the respect of Human Rights and to guarantee the compliance of international Human Rights Standards for law enforcement. And 3) calls for independent and impartial judicial investigations to find the political and material responsible for the violation of international human rights.
At this difficult and historic juncture for Colombia, the undersigned ask you to do everything in your power to advocate for the respect of the social state of law and all the international conventions and recommendations that the Colombian State has ratified in the field of human rights. It is only in ensuring the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms of all of Colombia’s citizens that a lasting peace can persist in a country that has suffered conflict for generations.
Yvette van Eechoud
Western Hemisphere Office DIrector of the Dutch MInistry of FOreign Affairs
Netherlands’ Human Rights Ambassador
Ambassador of the Dutch Embassy in Bogotá.