UN rights chief urges independent investigation into deaths in Colombia | News of protests


The statement points to reports that 14 people have been killed since Friday amid huge anti-government protests in Cali.

The head of UN rights sounded the alarm Sunday over deadly clashes in the Colombian city of Cali, calling for an independent investigation and accountability for the violence.

Michelle Bachelet, noting reports that 14 people had died since Friday amid major anti-government protests in Colombia’s third-largest city, needed a speedy investigation and a resumption of dialogue.

“It is essential that all those who are reportedly involved in causing injuries or deaths, including state officials, be subjected to prompt, effective, independent, impartial and transparent investigations and that those responsible are held accountable,” he said. UN High Commissioner statement.

His comments came after the Colombian army tightened control over Cali, a 2.2-million-strong city, on Saturday after clashes pitted police against armed civilians.

The country is in the second month of protests against the government of President Ivan Duque.

Officials say the month of protests has left at least 59 people dead and more than 2,300 civilians and uniformed personnel injured.

The NGO Human Rights Watch cited “credible reports” of at least 63 deaths across the country and called the situation in Cali “very serious.”

“Peaceful solution”

Bachelet’s office cited reports that 14 people had been killed in Cali since Friday and 98 had been injured, including 54 by guns.

Among those killed in Cali was a prosecutor who had fired a gun at two protesters who were blocking a street and killing him. The video on social media shows a crowd throwing themselves at the attacker and the lynx.

Bachelet, former Chilean president, stressed that only dialogue could resolve the demands of the different groups on both sides [File: Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

The rights office also noted reports of individuals firing shots at protesters in the presence of police officers in parts of the city.

“These events are even more worrying given the progress that has been made in resolving, through dialogue, the social unrest that erupted a month ago following the start of a national strike against various government social and economic policies.” , said the head of UN rights.

“I call for an end to all forms of violence, including vandalism, and for all parties to continue talking to each other and to ensure respect for the life and dignity of all people,” he said.

Bachelet, a former Chilean president, stressed that only dialogue could resolve the demands of the different groups on both sides.

“It welcomes the commitment expressed by various actors, in Cali and at the national level, to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to social unrest through talks,” he said.

The UN rights office also said it had received information from at least 30 people arrested in Cali since Friday and highlighted concerns about the whereabouts of some of them.

“The fair trial and proper prosecution rights of detainees need to be guaranteed,” Bachelet said.

He also stressed the need to take all necessary measures in accordance with international human rights standards to prevent disappearances.

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