BUCARAMANGA, Colombia — An global tracking group on Wednesday implicated policeman in Colombia of duty for the deaths of 20 individuals and other violent actions versus protesters throughout current civil discontent, consisting of sexual assault, poundings and approximate detentions.
Human Rights Watch stated in a report stated it has “credible evidence” showing cops eliminated a minimum of 16 protesters or spectators with “live ammunition fired from firearms,” while 3 other individuals passed away when cops utilized non-lethal weapons. The report stated another individual passed away after being beaten consistently.
“These brutal abuses are not isolated incidents by rogue officers, but rather the result of systemic shortcomings of the Colombian police,” stated José Miguel Vivanco, the group’s director for the Americas. “Comprehensive reform that clearly separates the police from the military and ensures adequate oversight and accountability is needed to ensure that these violations don’t occur again.”
The report provides a panorama of more extensive violence than what Colombian authorities have actually acknowledged. It states Human Rights Watch has actually gotten “credible information” reporting an overall of 68 deaths throughout the demonstrations, 34 of which it had the ability to validate, consisting of 2 law enforcement officers.
Colombia’s federal government has actually reported 18 deaths connected to the demonstrations and states an extra 9 are under examination. The nation’s human rights ombudsman, on the other hand, reported late Monday that it had actually verified 58 deaths connected to the demonstrations.
Thousands of Colombians have actually ended up throughout the nation for mainly serene demonstrations versus the administration of President Iván Duque. The demonstrations began over proposed tax boosts on civil services, fuel, salaries and pensions, however it has actually changed into a basic need for the federal government to do more for the most susceptible in society, such as Indigenous and Afro Latino individuals.
The administration withdrew the tax proposition simply days after the demonstrations started, however the discontent has actually continued and grown as reports emerged of cops violence, deaths and disappearances.
Human Rights Watch stated its examination into the cops reaction to the across the country demonstrations that started April 28 discovered that most of deadly victims suffered injuries to crucial organs, consisting of head and chest, which specialists stated “are consistent with being caused with the intent to kill.”
The report states that amongst those eliminated by cops was Kevin Agudelo, who passed away throughout a serene presentation May 3 in Cali, a city in southwestern Colombia that has actually been the center of the demonstrations. Witnesses stated anti-riot cops fired flash bang cartridges and teargas when demonstrators obstructed automobiles at a traffic circle, triggering numerous demonstrators to toss rocks.
“One witness said he heard shots that sounded like live ammunition,” the report states. “He said that Agudelo, who had been hiding behind a post, then ran toward him along with another protester. The witness said he saw a police officer shoot Agudelo from a short distance. The other protester was also injured, he said. Human Rights Watch reviewed three videos that appear consistent with the witnesses’ accounts, in which Agudelo is seen lying next to the injured protester”
The company examined an image of his body that revealed injuries to the chest and arms, which the report stated forensic specialists concluded followed being shot by live ammo.
Authorities have actually been sluggish to examine the reports of violence, and since Saturday, just 4 individuals had actually been prosecuted in connection with 2 murders that happened throughout the demonstrations. Of the 170 policeman under disciplinary examination, just 2 have actually been suspended, according to Human Rights Watch. Official public information suggests the majority of these examinations are for abuse of authority and 13 are connected to murders.
The cops have actually likewise been implicated gender-based and sexual violence. The Ombudsman’s Office, a company in charge of safeguarding human rights, has actually reported 14 cases of sexual attack and 71 cases of gender-based violence, consisting of physical and spoken attack.
Police have actually detained more than 1,000 individuals for criminal offenses presumably dedicated throughout the demonstrations, however numerous them were launched due to the fact that judges discovered no proof connecting them to the criminal offense or concluded they were not ensured due procedure.
The president has actually stated all cases of cops abuse will be examined and appropriately penalized. However, Duque has actually firmly insisted that they are separated cases.
“Colombia is not a country that violates human rights, we have difficulties, but we face them with justice,” governmental therapist for human rights, Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, informed press reporters Tuesday.
Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.