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Why the Riot Squad will continue to operate in Colombia despite reports of human rights violations

Posted: Nov 11, 2021 16:36 GMT

Iván Cepeda, the senator of the Alternative Democratic Pole, affirmed that although “this time it was not possible,” he will persist. “Al Esmad we are going to dismantle it,” he added.

For the second time this year, a legislative project was shelved that sought to dismantle the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) in Colombia, accused of committing systematic human rights violations during anti-government protests.

This time, with seven votes in favor and three against, the Second Commission of the Colombian Senate overthrew the bill promoted by the opposition senators Iván Cepeda, Antonio Sanguino and Feliciano Valencia. Last July, a group of parliamentarians had made a proposal to the House of Representatives to modify the National Police and prohibit the use of some weapons by the riot police, without success.

In his Twitter account, the senator of the Alternative Democratic Pole affirmed that although “this time it was not possible”, it will persist. “Al Esmad we are going to dismantle it,” he added.

For his part, Sanguino, presidential candidate for the Alianza Verde party, said in a trill that the elimination of the anti-riot corps, attached to the Defense Ministry, “will have to wait for the new congress with democratic majorities.” “A government and Congress of change in 2022 must advance in reforms like these,” he added.

What was the proposal?

The draft of nine articles considered disassemble within six months al Esmad, created in 1999, and that its powers would be fulfilled by the National Police, which would also absorb the riot control officers.

Agents who have criminal or disciplinary investigations for alleged human rights violations could not be incorporated into positions related to the containment of demonstrations.

This legislative initiative proposed to replace Esmad with a ‘Special Unit for Police Dialogue and Mediation’ that would give “a guarantee of the right to protest and human dignity, with a differential approach, to dialogue and conflict resolution,” wrote Senator Valencia in a trill.

Why disassemble the Esmad?

Since the 2019 protests, the clamor has increased among opposition voices in the Senate and national and international organizations for the defense of human rights for the action of Esmad to be reviewed and disintegrate in the face of multiple complaints of human rights violations. in the mobilizations.

As stated by Cepeda in his speech before the Second Committee of the Senate, in the past protests, which began in April of this year, 61 deaths out of 80 registered by human rights defense organizations were allegedly the responsibility of anti-riot agents.

It is evident that the Esmad has serious problems in its operation and in its conception, superficial reforms are not enough, we see that there is a systematic behavior, “said the opposition senator.

This year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in its working visit to Colombia, asked to separate the Police and Esmad from the Ministry of Defense to “guarantee a structure that consolidates and preserves security with a citizen approach and human rights”. However, this call was rejected by the Colombian president, Iván Duque, who affirmed in a trill that no one could recommend that a country “be tolerant of criminal acts.”

In this context, the president announced in the middle of the year the police “transformation” and “modernization” of the Ministry of Defense, amid requests for an end to police violence against protesters. This initiative was criticized at the time by those who called it a “cosmetic change” that did not solve the root of the problem caused by militarization and the “excessive use of force” during the protests.

This has not been the first indication of an international organization to the riot control. In 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for an “urgent” change of Esmad, in the context of the anti-government mobilizations of 2019 and that year.

Cepeda recalled that in addition to the international recommendations on Esmad there are decisions of the Justice that state that “exists due to a conduct of human rights violations in a systematic way against people who have participated in mobilizations in a peaceful manner. “

In September 2020, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling whereby the Executive ordered a general restructuring of the use of force or the suspension of the use of 12-gauge shotguns, used by Esmad to contain the protests, which would have been the cause. of the death of the young Dilan Cruz, emblem of the demonstrations in Colombia.

Nathali Gomez

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Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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