Thursday, November 20, 2008

Amnesty and HRW ask Uribe to stop falsely accuse human rights groups

From Colombia Reports news site

Human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch want Colombian President Álvaro Uribe to "stop making false and dangerous accusations against human rights groups that criticize his government."

The two organizations are bitter about Uribe's reaction after the publication of their reports about Colombia. Uribe had accused Amnesty International of "blindness" and "fanaticism" and accused HRW Americas director José Miguel Vivanco of being a supporter of the FARC.

“We would welcome a chance to debate the real issues with the president. But these statements belittle his office and give a green light to those who wish to harm human rights activists in Colombia,” Susan Lee, Americas director for Amnesty International said Wednesday.

“These ridiculous accusations are symptomatic of an administration that refuses to be held accountable for what it does,” said José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch. “Instead of taking the country’s human rights problems seriously, the Uribe government has sought to deflect criticism by simply accusing the critics – no matter who they are – of links to guerrillas.”

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say they are still waiting for the Colombian government to provide measured and detailed responses to the serious human rights concerns raised in their two reports.