Last Updated:10/27/00
Paz Colombia: Declaration of International NGOs, October 16-18, 2000
International Conference for Peace and Human Rights
San Jose, Costa Rica


This statement was produced by representatives from over 100 NGOs (human rights, development, secular, religious, environmental and solidarity).

1. We welcome the Costa Rica Conference as an important step in the search for a political solution to the Colombian conflict and human rights crisis by bringing together all sectors and especially, for the first time, civil society.

2. We are organizations with a long-standing commitment to Colombia, to the needs of the majority of the population, and especially to the many victims of human rights violations. We place great value on the contribution and commitment of civil society as well as the increasing commitment and concern of the international community, a necessary element in building political solutions and ensuring full respect of human rights.

3. We are convinced that the Colombian situation requires without delay a political solution with the support of all sectors, especially civil society.

4. Any political solution urgently requires full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by all armed actors; dismantling of paramilitary groups; an end to impunity and the removal from the state security forces of those agents who have violated human rights.

5. No political solution can be achieved without social justice, without respect for the multicultural nature of the peoples of Colombia, without full respect for human rights, starting with the right of all human beings to live with dignity, or without resolving the problems which lie at the root of the Colombian conflict: unequal land and wealth distribution.

6. No solution can be achieved without an end to impunity or without the full respect of all human rights

7. International organizations are fully convinced that Plan Colombia, as it is designed, will not contribute to peace but rather, we fear, will result in more deaths and despair for the Colombian people and will lead to a regionalization of the conflict.

8. Breaches of International Humanitarian Law and crimes against humanity, which may be generated by a military strategy should not go unpunished. Those who plan, order or execute these actions must be held accountable to national and international justice.

9. Colombia needs and deserves an international assistance plan that is based on deep rooted, immediate and effective respect for human rights and international humanitarian law which would be a prerequisite to all cooperation.

10. Colombia needs a plan based on social solutions to the problem of illegal crops and real participation of civil society.

11. Only international cooperation based on these criteria will bear fruit.

12. We call on the international community to ensure that assistance and cooperation are based on this framework. Furthermore we call on
· The Governments of Europe, Japan and Canada to contribute to a genuine and long term political and social solution to the Colombian conflict;

· The US Government that it conduct a thorough review of its strategy towards Colombia and that it withdraw from a plan which will exacerbate an already dramatic situation.

13. We also call on the Government of Colombia to assume a real commitment for human rights and adopt an effective action plan which will translate into concrete measures which will go beyond rhetoric; that it comply with UN and OAS recommendations, from the last decade

14. We call upon the Colombian authorities to provide special guarantees for the life and safety of those people who attended this meeting and will be returning to Colombia.

15. We call on all armed actors to fully respect international humanitarian law and all human rights and that they immediately cease practices that violate fundamental rights.

16. International NGOs reaffirm our commitment to victims, local, regional and national organizations that struggle for a future with justice and dignity based on respect for human rights and social justice. We reaffirm our commitment to actively monitor the situation in Colombia and to work continuously for its improvement.

American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International
Permanent Assembly for Human Rights- Ecuador
ABC Group -Ireland and UK
Centre for International Policy -USA
Centre for Documentation of Human Rights -Ecuador
CIVIS -Sweden
Flemish Coordination for North-South Cooperation-Belgium
International Commission of Jurists
Christian Committee for Human Rights in Latin America-Canada
Inter Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America- Canada
Canadian Labour Congress
Project Counseling Service
International Cooperation- Italy
German Coordination for Human Rights in Colombia
French Coordination for Peace in Colombia
Colombia Human Rights Committee- Washington DC
Diakonia - Sweden
Solidarity Forum - Sweden
Misereor - Germany
Caritas - France
Oxfam GB
Trocaire- Ireland
Transnational Institute Netherlands

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