Human Rights Watch received 63 reports of deaths during Colombia's National Strike
José Miguel Vivanco, director of HRW, reported that 63 "credible" death reports have been received since the beginning of the National Strike in Colombia.
One month since the protests began in the streets of Colombia in the framework of the National Strike, the director of Human Rights Watch, José Vivanco, affirmed having received 63 "credible" reports of deaths. HRW has just added a worrying death toll since the protests began. It has also called for the U.S. government to be more demanding with the parameters for providing aid and funding to the Colombian armed forces.
Through his Twitter account, José Miguel Vivanco, announced that to date "we have received credible reports of 63 deaths in Colombia since the protests began." Twenty-eight have been confirmed, with 26 being demonstrators or bystanders, and two policemen.
Hemos recibido denuncias creíbles sobre 63 muertes ocurridas en Colombia desde que comenzaron las protestas.
Hasta ahora, hemos confirmado que 28 de estas muertes (26 manifestantes o transeuntes y dos policías) tienen relación con las manifestaciones.
— José Miguel Vivanco (@JMVivancoHRW) May 27, 2021
These numbers are higher than those published by the Colombian Ministry of Defense, which in its latest report mentions 45 civilian deaths (17 related to the protest and nine in the process of verification) and two of members of the police. For its part, the NGO Temblores reported 43 deaths allegedly caused by that institution, with 18 still in the process of verification.
The figures have prompted HRW to call on the Colombian government to make a complete transformation from the institutions to the police.
"I expressed our concern about serious human rights violations, as well as vandalism. I insisted on the need for police reform and to allow a prompt visit by the IACHR. He committed to guarantee the IACHR visit," said Vivanco, a human rights expert.
For its part, the Attorney General's Office delivered a report on May 24 on persons not found after a month of protests. The institution informed that it found 290 people who had been reported missing during the demonstrations, but that the search remains active for another 129 citizens.
Despite the attempts of dialogue during the month that Colombia has been in National Strike, the official numbers are chilling.
Alternative media such as social media are showing the daily difficult situation the country is going through in terms of violence, abuses of authority, sexual violence and excesses in the use of force. HRW affirmed that they will deliver a report on the matter in the next few days and will ask for "strong objections" from the public forces and mainly from the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad).