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Human Rights Watch Calls Out Colombian ELN Guerrilla for Continued Kidnappings during Peace Talks

By: Felipe Fernández - @Ffernandezp - Jun 8, 2017, 3:59 pm
La organización denunció los "graves abusos" que sufren comunidades afrocolombianas e indígenas a manos de la guerrilla Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). (Youtube)
The organization denounced “serious abuses” by the National Liberation Army guerrilla groups against Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. (Youtube)

EspañolDirector of Human Rights Watch José Miguel Vivanco said the National Liberation Army guerrilla group (ELN) in Colombia is hypocritical for claiming it wants peace while its members continue to commit atrocities.

Vivanco, who oversees the Americas for the human rights organization, spoke to the NTN24 network, denouncing “serious abuses” suffered by Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities at the hands of the guerrilla group.

A report presented in Washington, D.C. said the group is responsible for murder, the recruiting of minors, planting anti-personnel mines and generally displacing thousands of residents over recent years.

“The government has an obligation to offer humane and dignified conditions to families who must travel to other regions of the country as a cause of violence,” Miguel Vivanco said.

 

“It is a huge hypocrisy for ELN leaders to pretend to be interested in a peace negotiation when their men are committing these atrocities,” he said, adding that, “the government must demand a change of ELN conduct with the civilian population.”

He clarified that Human Rights Watch is not against a peace negotiation, but that they are concerned it won’t translate into “concrete and verifiable results” amid ELN’s continued acts of violence and abuse.

He also said he was concerned about the victims in certain sectors, and that the atrocities against them have largely gone unnoticed.

“These communities have suffered from abandonment of the Colombian state for decades,” he said.

Despite the allegations, the ELN guerrilla group said it will continue to carry out kidnappings as part of their cause.

Source: NTN 24

Felipe Fernández Felipe Fernández

Felipe Fernández is a reporter from Colombia for the PanAm Post. He's a law student at the La Gran Colombia University in Armenia. Follow him on Twitter: @Ffernandezp

Paramilitaries and Police Detain Venezuelan Opposition Leader

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jun 8, 2017, 2:31 pm
A prominent opposition leader was detained today in Barinas state, Venezuela (

Español Venezuelan opposition leader María Corina Machado was detained by officials of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) on her way to the state of Barinas; she was also allegedly threatened by paramilitary groups with close ties to the Maduro regime. This Thursday, June 8, Machado was a victim of irregularities and violent acts by the regime of Nicolás Maduro. She is still under arrest and she herself is not aware of the reason. Read More: Is Maria Corina Machado Venezuela's Hope for Restoring Democracy? Read More: Venezuelan Dissenter Maria Corina Machado Banned from Public Office It all started when the opposition leader traveled by land to the state of Barinas; however she remained stuck in traffic for more than two hours in an endless line of vehicles, because they decided to take an unusual route via the Regional Central Highway. Once they arrived at the toll in Guacara, in the central region of the country, motorized units of the Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN) stabbed the tires of the vehicles in which Machado and her team were traveling. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); She then tried to proceed on a motorcycle, but PNB officials stopped him and confiscated the motorcycle. The opposition leader tried to inquire as to the reason for her arrest, but was denied an official explanation. https://twitter.com/MariaCorinaYA/status/872822514753425408 At the moment of the retention and while Machado spoke with the officials, armed paramilitary groups loyal to Maduro threatened those present, even including officials of the GNP. Their presumed goal was to prevent Maria Corina Machado from reaching her destination. https://twitter.com/PrensaMCM/status/872814095568949251 Sources close to the opposition leader told the PanAm Post that the governor of the state Carabobo, Francisco Ameliach, ordered that Machado "not be allowed to come" to the area; the reason for which SEBIN, PNB and even paramilitary groups prevent the passage. With information from Vente Venezuela team

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