Colombian security forces are accused of using excessive force in anti-government protests across the country.
Colombian President Ivan Duque announced plans to “modernize” the country’s police force, including providing human rights training and strengthening police supervision, because his government has been criticized for using force against protesters.
Anti-government demonstration This has happened across Colombia since late April, when thousands of people took to the streets to oppose a now-withdrawn tax reform proposal, which critics said would harm the middle and working classes disproportionately.
Mass rallies continued, and protesters expanded their list of demands to include medical and educational reforms—and violence escalated, especially in the city of Cali, Protest Center.
The exact number of deaths related to the protests is still disputed, but human rights groups say dozens of people have been killed by security forces. The Attorney General’s Office stated that 20 deaths were directly related to the demonstrations.
At a ceremony celebrating the promotion of police officers on Sunday, Duke said that his government will ask Congress to approve the establishment of the Police Human Rights Bureau, which will seek international help on policies, as well as the new Police Officer Training Education Bureau.
Duque said that he ordered the enactment of “a decree to modernize the structure of the national police, especially to strengthen…policy on human rights.”
The President said: “In this structure, the protection, prevention and respect of human rights will become a symbol, because a human rights bureau will be established in the national police,” he added, “today support should be given to all institutions for human rights.” More than ever”.
The law will be introduced on the first day of the next legislative session in July. It will also create a new complaint system and expand the disciplinary standards for officials supervised by the independent center.
Duke said that the government is also enacting a law to determine the standards for the legal use of force and another law to regulate the use and sale of non-lethal weapons.
Duke did not particularly succumb to the protesters’ demands for “reform” of the police, but promised to “reform” the police. This was a response to the Department of Defense.
The announcement coincided with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visiting Colombia to investigate violence related to the protest.Committee Say It plans to hold face-to-face and virtual meetings with civil society actors in the coming days.
Last Sunday, the head of human rights at the United Nations Alert on recent violence In Cali, this left more than A dozen people died At the end of last month, it called for independent investigation and accountability of the violence.
Michelle, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “All those who are reportedly involved in causing harm or death, including state officials, must accept prompt, effective, independent, impartial and transparent investigations and hold those responsible for them accountable. Celette said in a statement.
Negotiations between the Duke government and the National Strike Committee Stagnant Last week, but it is expected to resume on Sunday afternoon. The committee is composed of trade unions, student groups and other civil society organizations.
The protesters demanded that Duke condemn the excessive use of force by the police and take action to resolve inequality in the country.