06.24.15

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., author of the human rights conditions in U.S. law) on military aid for Colombia) To Human Rights Watch’s Report Today Implicating Top Colombian Army Officers In Atrocities

"I am deeply troubled by Human Rights Watch’s report.  It shows that as we provided billions of dollars in aid to the Colombian army over many years, its troops systematically executed civilians.  Worse yet, the officers who were in charge have escaped justice, and some remain in senior positions of authority, without the United States or the Colombian government addressing the problem. 

“We received continual assurances from the Departments of State and Defense that the Colombian military was reforming and becoming accountable to the law.  And there has been progress.  But as this report shows, colonels and generals who commanded units responsible for false positives have risen to the top of the military command without fear that anything would happen to them.

“Knowing President Santos as the honorable man that he is, I am confident that he will take this report seriously, and that he will do what is necessary to deliver justice and restore credibility to the Colombian military.

“We also need to see a more vigorous response from our own government.  We have supported the Colombian military because the country has been threatened by an insurgency.  But unless Colombia’s military leaders are people of integrity, it will be difficult to continue to support an institution that engaged with impunity in a pattern of gross violations of human rights."

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