IACHR EXPRESSES ITS REPUDIATION OF THE DEATHS OF ELEVEN LEGISLATORS HELD AS HOSTAGES BY THE FARC IN COLOMBIA
Washington, D.C, July 3, 2007—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its consternation and repudiation regarding the news of the violent deaths of eleven representatives of the Departmental Assembly of Valle del Cauca, who had been held as hostages by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since 2002.
The IACHR wishes to express its deep condolences to the relatives of the victims. The violent death of these legislators represents a severe blow to Colombian society and to those who harbor hope for overcoming the armed conflict and achieving peace by peaceful means.
The IACHR reiterates that the taking of hostages constitutes a serious crime, prohibited by the standards of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and urges armed groups that continue to illegally hold numerous civilians in Colombia to respect their lives, their security and their health, and to proceed with their immediate and unconditional release. In the case of the eleven legislators who lost their lives, the IACHR urges that their bodies be handed over immediately.
In view of the information that is available about this incident and about the worrisome situation of other hostages still under FARC control, the IACHR urges the State to take all measures within its power to bring the facts to light and to ensure the protection of life and the physical integrity of individuals who are being held captive. The IACHR is confident that humanitarian efforts can be facilitated to bring about the release of the hostages and an end to their degrading conditions of captivity.