IACHR CONDEMNS MURDER OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER AND MEMBER OF THE UNION PATRIOTICA AND HIS BODYGUARD IN THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murders of Mr. Carlos Bernal, member of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights and the Union Patriótica political party, and of his bodyguard, Mr. Camilo Jiménez, on April 1, 2004, in Cúcuta, Republic of Colombia.
Mr. Bernal was a well known human rights defender, political leader, and university professor, and had served as Commissioner for Peace of North Santander. Mr. Bernal was a beneficiary of the Ministry of the Interior’s protection program, established within the framework of a friendly settlement process of a case relating to the murder of thousands of Union Patriotica members in Colombia. The IACHR has requested the Government of the Republic of Colombia to adopt special measures for the protection of leaders and members of the Union Patriotica, in response to the ongoing attacks, threats, acts of harassment, and stigmatization of persons affiliated with that political party.
The IACHR deplores this attack and its consequences and urges the State to investigate this crime thoroughly, to prosecute and punish those responsible, and to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the lives and physical integrity of Union Patriotica members are protected.
Washington, D. C., April 13, 2004