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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Ms. Piedad Córdoba of Colombia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/173/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 171st session (September 2002),

Recalling that Ms. Córdoba was kidnapped on 21 May 1999 by the "Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia" (AUC) and held by them until 4 June 1999; the preventive detention of their leader, Carlos Castaño Gil, has been ordered; upon her release, Ms. Córdoba had to go into exile owing to death threats, reportedly also made by the AUC; she returned to Colombia and was re-elected in March 2002; since then, two further attempts have been made on her life, in December 2002 and in January 2003,

Having before it the written report on the on-site mission carried out on 31 March and 1 April 2003 for the purpose of putting IPU's concerns about this case to the Colombian authorities and gathering first-hand information from them,

Considering that, at the time of the mission, a new plan to kill Ms. Córdoba was revealed and that, shortly before the Committee's delegation met her, she had received a copy of a letter on the subject which the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office in Medellín had addressed to the Subdirectorate of the Administrative Security Department (DAS) in Medellín, but without informing her personally,

Noting that, following the Santa Fe de Ralito agreement of 15 July 2003 between the authorities and the paramilitary, a bill on their demobilisation was submitted to the National Congress, the provisions of which have been widely criticised for failing to take adequate account of questions of justice and reparation; noting that members of the parliamentary committee studying the bill have publicly stated that they are being pressured by Carlos Castaño to adopt it as it stands

  1. Thanks the authorities of Colombia and, in particular, the President of the National Congress for their cooperation and for the arrangements made to ensure that the delegation was able, as requested, to travel to Bogotá, meet all concerned parties and enjoy the necessary facilities;

  2. Commends the delegation for its work, and fully endorses the findings and conclusions contained in its report;

  3. Nevertheless regrets that, except for the National Conciliation Commission, which expressed full support, the authorities have failed to respond to the report;

  4. Expresses deep concern at the continuing death threats against Ms. Córdoba, and emphatically urges the authorities to ensure her protection not only in Bogotá but also in Medellín;

  5. Observes that the latest attempt on Ms. Córdoba's life clearly demonstrates that impunity only leads to the repetition of crimes, and therefore urges the competent authorities to fulfil their duty and carry out expeditiously the necessary investigations to identify, apprehend and punish the culprits;

  6. Is convinced that the National Congress of Colombia must take a more active part in ensuring that proper investigations are carried out and in facilitating information-sharing regarding these cases, in particular with the Ombudsman;

  7. Affirms that strong parliamentary human rights committees can be an effective tool in combating impunity if they have the necessary powers and facilities; and calls therefore on the presidency of the National Congress to ensure that the human rights committees in both chambers are granted the necessary powers and facilities to perform their work effectively;

  8. Expresses deep concern at the draft bill before Congress on the demobilisation of the paramilitary, which, in its present form, includes the option of excessively lenient sanctions for those who have committed crimes under national and international law, and would entail impunity for Carlos Castaño;

  9. Stresses that the internationally recognised human rights principle that amnesties and pardons can only be granted if the right to truth, justice and reparation of victims of human rights violations is respected; calls on the Congress to ensure that the law it adopts on this matter is consistent with this paramount principle;

  10. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the President of the National Congress of Colombia and to the authorities concerned, inviting them to inform the Committee of any action they may have taken to implement its recommendations;

  11. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly.

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