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CFSP Statements


Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia

The European Union wishes to express its grave concern at the murders and death threats against leaders of social organisations and organisations for the defence of human rights in Colombia over recent weeks.

Organisations which have been cooperating closely with the European Union in Colombia for many years have not escaped this wave of threats and intimidation: since 18 February 2008, five leaders and members of associations involved in Union programmes have paid the ultimate price for their commitment to their communities; in addition, organisations supported by the Union - including the Magdalena Medio peace and development programme - have received e-mail threats in which the NGOs and the community and church leaders involved in these projects are designated "military targets" for illegal armed groups.

The European Union wishes to underline the legitimate efforts of these community leaders to build peace in Colombia and to defend and promote human rights in the country.  It is also troubled at the emergence of armed criminal groups which seize and occupy the illegal territorial control structures established by the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia before they were demobilised.

The European Union has already made its concerns known to the Colombian authorities, who have undertaken to continue their struggle against these forms of violence.  For its part, the European Union will continue resolutely to support human rights defenders in Colombia.

The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 23.05.2008