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PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
 
CASE N° CO/121 - PIEDAD CÓRDOBA - COLOMBIA

Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 169th session (Ouagadougou, 14 September 2001)


The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the resolution it adopted at its 168th session (April 2001) on the case of Mrs. Piedad Córdoba of Colombia, and to the related report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians,

Considering that Mrs. Córdoba, as President of the Senate Human Rights Committee, was at the forefront of denouncing human rights and humanitarian law abuses,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • Mrs. Córdoba was kidnapped on 21 May 1999 by a group of 15 heavily armed men claiming to be members of the Attorney General's Office; while in the hands of the paramilitary, she was taken from place to place by government helicopters;

  • Mr. Carlos Castaño, at that time head of the paramilitary "Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia" (AUC), subsequently admitted his group's responsibility for the kidnapping; On 4 June 1999, Mrs. Córdoba was released and handed over to a commission made up of Senate members, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Attorney General's Office, in the presence of Mr. Carlos Castaño;

  • Upon Mrs. Córdoba's release, her telephone conversations were tapped and transcripts of them published in the media, jeopardising her personal safety;

  • Investigations have been launched by the Attorney General into the kidnapping, registered under N 521, and the tapping of Mrs. Córdoba's telephone conversations;

  • On 9 September 1999 Mrs. Córdoba reported to the media the existence of a plan to kill her, asserting that those behind the plan were extreme right-wing military; at a press conference on 6 October 1999, Mrs. Córdoba announced that, given the lack of effective security measures and the absence of any political resolve on the part of the Government and Congress to guarantee the rights of the opposition, she and her family had to go into exile; Mrs. Córdoba has been granted political asylum abroad,

Taking account of the information transmitted on 23 August 2001 by the Human Rights Office of the Vice-Presidency of the Republic, that the investigation into the kidnapping and the death threats with which Carlos Castaño has been linked is being conducted by the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office,

Bearing in mind that Colombia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the American Convention on Human Rights, both of which guarantee the right to security of person,

Noting that the 2001 report on Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that "Carlos Castaño Gil had gained public visibility in the national and international media with disconcerting ease and that while paramilitary operations were still on the rise, they had not encountered any governmental action aimed at stopping them; that, by contrast with the large military offensives against the guerrillas, deploying huge human and logistic resources in campaigns that last for weeks, the results of the Government's anti-paramilitary policy were patchy",

  1. Thanks the Human Rights Office of the Vice-Presidency of the Republic for the information provided; regrets, however, the absence of any communication from the parliamentary authorities showing any interest in the fate of one of their colleagues;

  2. Notes that Carlos Castaño has been officially linked to the investigation concerning the kidnapping and the death threats issued against Senator Cordoba; nevertheless remains deeply concerned that no action appears to have been taken to apprehend him and bring him to justice;

  3. Recalls that Colombia, like any other State, is under an obligation to ensure the security of the persons under its jurisdiction, both directly, by means of reasonable and appropriate measures to protect them, and indirectly through the identification and punishment of those who threaten their security; and urges the authorities once again to do their utmost to bring to justice those responsible for Mrs. Córdoba's kidnapping and the death threats she received;

  4. Firmly believes that the fight against the paramilitary groups, which is crucial to solving this case, requires the existence, along with appropriate legislation and machinery, of resolute political will to take effective action;

  5. Considers that an on-site mission would help the Committee to make progress in this case; consequently requests the Secretary General to contact the parliamentary authorities with a view to organising a mission as early as possible to gather information from the competent parliamentary, governmental, administrative and judicial authorities, as well as from the source;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to communicate this resolution to the parliamentary authorities and to the source;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (March 2002), in the light of such information as the on-site mission may have gathered.

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