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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Gustavo Petro Urrego, a member of the Colombian House of Representatives, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/182/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 181st session (October 2007),

Taking into account the communication from the President of the Colombian Congress of 8 November 2007; taking into account also the information provided at the hearing by members of the Colombian delegation to the 118th IPU Assembly,

Recalling that Mr. Petro has repeatedly received death threats from paramilitary groups over a long period and that, with respect to one such threat, the Commander of the Bloque Tolima of the Autodefensas Unidades de Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary group disbanded on 22 October 2005, was identified as a suspect and heard in court on 22 January and 12 February 2007; the investigation has been at the preliminary stage since 2004 and the prosecuting authorities have requested further evidence-taking,

Recalling that Mr. Petro has been prominent in denouncing a web of links between paramilitary groups and members of the Colombian Congress, which has created a scandal shaking the country's political establishment, and that as a result the threats against his life have reached new, alarming levels; he is at present granted an extensive security detail,

Considering that, in her February 2008 report on the human rights situation in Colombia (A/HRC/7/39), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that “structural problems persist in the administration of justice” and that there was "a need for further progress in the fight against impunity",

  1. Stresses that ultimately the only effective protection of Senator Petro's physical integrity combines an appropriate security detail with resolute and effective action to identify and bring to trial the culprits of the attempt on his life and the threats against him; is therefore deeply concerned that no information is on file that any such action is being taken with respect to the latest threats;

  2. Calls again on the authorities, as a matter of urgency, to do everything in their power to hold to account the perpetrators of these threats which, given the nature of Mr. Petro's revelations that they come in response to, have to be taken very seriously; would appreciate information on any steps taken in this regard;

  3. Trusts that judicial proceedings against the currently detained former paramilitary commander suspected of being behind death threats made against Mr. Petro before 2004 are well under way; would appreciate confirmation thereof;

  4. Reaffirms that, through its oversight role, the Colombian Congress has a responsibility and is indeed given the opportunity to help ensure that the competent authorities are resolutely seeking to guarantee due administration of justice in Senator Petro's case; appreciates therefore the express readiness of the President of the Colombian Congress to ensure regular dialogue to help promote a satisfactory solution, including in Senator Petro's case; and would greatly appreciate information on any action that is being taken by Congress in this regard;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities and the source accordingly;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 119th Assembly of the IPU (Geneva, October 2008).
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