"Manifesto for truth, justice and full reparation".

We, the men and women, victims and family members of those who have been disappeared, murdered, tortured, displaced or arbitrarily detained... gathered at the "National meeting of the victims of crimes against humanity and violations of human rights", held in Bogota, Colombia, on May 28 and 29, 2004:


1. That the communities, organizations and persons present at this meeting are victims of the overt and covert actions of the Colombian State through its use of lawful armed forces and paramilitary groups.

2. That the paramilitary groups have been created, sponsored, protected and financed by the Colombian State, as we have proved by means of witnesses and direct victims and as has been affirmed in criminal, disciplinary and administrative investigations even though these are far from meeting international standards in matters of truth, justice and reparation.

3. That the declarations and recommendations of international intergovernmental bodies, such as the Organization of the United Nations (OUN) and the Organization of American States (OAS), have clearly indicated State responsibility for both its acts and omissions in the development and consolidation of paramilitary frameworks.

4. That these declarations have been and continue to be repeatedly ignored by the Colombian State, resulting in further violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.

5. That the leaders of paramilitary groups have themselves publicly acknowledged that it is the Colombian State and its representatives who have always fostered and supported them.

6. That crimes against humanity and violations of human rights have been committed by paramilitary groups with the collusion, complicity and concerted actions of the state security forces or with their approval and tolerance.

That these terrible crimes have been and are being carried out in a systematic and planned manner against social, popular and political sectors which have implemented acts of opposition or have demanded the restoration of their rights.

7. That we have also confirmed that units of the Armed Forces are committing crimes and abuses, disguising themselves as members of paramilitary groups by using their distinctive clothes.

8. That the administration of justice has been and is an integral part of the development of this paramilitary strategy, and that this is reflected in the impunity which is afforded to the vast majority of those investigations undertaken to clarify these crimes against humanity and human rights violations

That this impunity has made it possible for more crimes to be committed, to further concentrate land-ownership, to carry out forced displacements and to extend and consolidate these criminal structures.

9. That the policy of "Democratic Security" followed by the government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has exacerbated the human rights crisis, with the growing involvement of the civilian population in armed conflict, the militarization of civilian life, the organization of informant networks, the recruitment of rural soldiers, the spread of large-scale and arbitrary detentions, the impetus of the "Colombia Plan" and the "Patriot Plan", the implementation of indiscriminate fumigation, the reforms to the National Constitution, the adoption of the "Anti-Terrorist Act" and the passing of laws which promote impunity and contravene international principles guaranteeing human rights and humanitarian law.

10. That the National Government is furthering a process of supposed demobilisation of paramilitary groups which aims to institutionalize, legitimize and consolidate this strategy in the areas of economy, politics, society and law; denying the right to memory, truth, justice and opposition as well as the freedom of expression of victims and of the people in general.

11. That the supposed demobilisation coincides with the development of new means of militarization in regions which are strategic for the implementation of telecommunications, agro-industry, highway infrastructure and energy projects.

That these economic macro-projects favour private interests, both national and international, and deprive the affected populations of their rights.

12. That the National Government signed an agreement with the Secretary-General of the OAS to establish a Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia [la Misión para Apoyar el Proceso de Paz en Colombia (MAPP/OEA)] which would monitor the initiatives for a cease-fire and the cessation of hostilities, as well as the demobilisation of the various groups.

That, notwithstanding this, the paramilitary structures continue to commit serious violations of human rights in all parts of the country such as those which took place in recent days in the departments of la Guajira and Arauca.

That paramilitary incursion into neighbouring countries and the expansion of their control techniques, with government consent, has been established.

13. That the OAS Mission is not fulfilling its task of international verification, but, to the contrary, it has kept silent in the face of serious violations being committed by the paramilitary groups

That this approach legitimizes the lack of transparency in a "negotiation process" which is being carried out behind the back of society, without any real guarantees of independent observation by the international community.

14. That the National Government submitted draft legislation to the Congress of the Republic aimed at the "re-incorporation into civilian life" of the members of the paramilitary groups which does not lead to their trial nor to punishment nor to any reparation for their terrible crimes, but is, in fact, an open door which enables the continuation of violations of human rights and crimes against humanity; thereby exacerbating the armed conflict, furthering the consolidation of impunity and denying the victims any rights to truth, historical memory, justice or proper reparation.


That the violations of human rights and the crimes against humanity must be dealt with so as to guarantee the rights of the victims and the society to:

  • TRUTH AND HISTORICAL MEMORY to ensure that the acts of violence are never repeated.

    Truth to establish why, when and how the atrocities were perpetrated. .

    Truth in order to learn the identity of those most responsible for the crimes, and the origins and economic, political and social motivations which have led to their commission.

    Truth to determine the sources of financing and the forms of behaviour of the criminals.

    Truth to demonstrate the systematic nature of, and to identify who was advantaged by and who has benefited from, these acts of violence.

    Truth so that, by means of media communication, the entire account of this story of horror becomes publicly known

    Truth so that the victims are acknowledged socially.

  • JUSTICE to completely clarify the facts.

    Justice so that the intellectual and physical perpetrators are subject to criminal, disciplinary and administrative investigations, whether at a national or international level.

    Justice so that these persons be tried and punished proportionately with the seriousness of the crimes they have committed.

  • FULL REPARATION which includes the re-establishment of those rights which have been violated both individually and collectively. Reparation must permit the return of lands to the displaced and the families of the victims of murder and disappearance. Reparation must involve compensation, indemnification and reimbursement of all the damages incurred

    Reparation must include rehabilitation and actions to provide medical and psychological attention to assist recuperation from the losses and the physical and psychological effects which have been suffered.

    Reparation must include the recuperation of historical memory and the complete and public diffusion of the truth about the crimes perpetrated , as well as the victims' 'dignification'.

    Reparation must give homage and allow for the construction of monuments to restore dignity to the victims.

    Reparation should include the making of public statements concerning the responsibility of the State and the killers and which recognize the enormous damage which has been done to the victims and society in general.

    Reparation should include the search for and identification of the bodies of those who have been killed and the clarification of all the facts concerning those who have disappeared.

    The measures taken in reparation must guarantee that the violations are not repeated.

    Finally, reparation must lead to dissolution of paramilitary groups, cleansing of the state security institutions and respect for the exercise of the rights and freedoms of the Colombian people.


    of the State of Colombia:

    1. As the first political expression of the process of clarification, that it publicly recognises its responsibility for violations of human rights and the commission of crimes against humanity.

    2. That it establishes as soon as possible a mechanism to re-structure the judiciary in its entirety so that it can carry out an impartial and independent investigation enabling the trial and punishment of those responsible, both materially and intellectually, for crimes against humanity and violations of human rights.

    That, in this re-structuring process, it guarantees the participation of victims and victims' organizations.

    3. That the effective and verifiable demobilization of paramilitarism in Colombia be implemented in the public eye, with complete transparency and in accordance with international human rights law, to ensure that the principles of truth, justice and reparation be guaranteed for victims and society.

    4. That in such process, the names of the planners, financiers, harborers, and beneficiaries of the paramilitary structures be disclosed and explicitly announced; and that the methods and mechanisms of impunity which are in effect to this day be clarified. It must also make clear who are those persons, communities and organizations which have been victimised and the reasons why they were and continue to be attacked

    5. That it publicly explains what will be done with the lands, territories and other possessions which the paramilitary groups have taken from hundreds of thousands of rural workers, indigenous groups, afro-descendants and other civilians who today find themselves displaced and marginalised in urban centres.

    6. That it takes all necessary measures to ensure that the displaced can return to their homes and that their possessions be returned to them.

    That it also takes all essential measures to ensure that humanitarian principles and human rights be respected in the areas under paramilitary control.

    That it respects, in all circumstances, the principle of distinction, and that it ceases to encourage the linking of the civilian population with the armed conflict.

    That it suspends its policy of mass arbitrary detentions.

    And that it respects the rights to life, to property and to the natural resources of the 'communities in resistance' whether in rural or urban areas.

    7. That it ceases to criminalize or stigmatize social or popular sectors, human rights groups, non-governmental and international inter-governmental organizations.

    8.That state and official representatives of all levels cease attempting in any way to justify or legitimize crimes against humanity or forms of violence against the civilian population.

    9. That it withdraws all draft laws which tend to offer impunity for crimes against humanity and violations of human rights or which grant judicial police powers to the Armed Forces, and in general, which promulgate reforms to the National Constitution which limit the fundamental rights and guarantees of its citizens.

    10. That it complies in full with the recommendations made by international organizations such as the UN and the OAS concerning the unconditional respect for human rights. .

    Of the State of Colombia and the insurgent groups:

    1. That they initiate rapprochements which enable a negotiated exit from the social and armed conflict and that they enter into humanitarian agreements as a sign of good faith.

    Of the insurgent groups:

    1. That they respect in all circumstances the norms of humanitarian law and that they comply with the recommendations of the United Nations.

    Of the public media:

    1. That they provide truthful and impartial information about the violations of human rights and the crimes against humanity, in accordance with codes of ethics, so as to make it possible for the whole society to obtain the right to the truth.

    2. That by means of information programming, they disclose the testimonies and statements of families, of victims and of the witnesses of human rights violations and crimes against humanity, at all times respecting the perspective and the form of expression of such sources.

    3. That they start an opinion column in the press as well as in television and radio programming, which allows the victims of human rights violations and crimes against humanity to freely express their opinions concerning respect for the right to the truth, justice and complete reparation.

    Of the International Community:

    1. That it monitors the Colombian State and requires it to comply with and implement the recommendations and international human rights and humanitarian law standards.

    2. That it ensures that international co-operation leads to peace, development and social justice and not to the intensification of war.

    Of the churches:

    1. To support the communities and demand of the State respect for the rights to truth, justice and full reparation for all the victims of human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

    Of the ecclesiastical hierarchy:

    1. That it provides the victims and society with a public report concerning its role in the process of demobilization and that it explains its ethical and evangelical reasons for which those voices who demand justice in this process are not recognised.


    1. To make public our determination to achieve the formation of a national movement to unite together and in a co-ordinated way, those persons, communities and organizations that have been victims of crimes against humanity committed in Colombia.

    2. To reiterate that without the active participation of the victims there cannot be a genuine process of resolution of the violence in Colombia.

    3. To reiterate that no-one should act on our behalf nor speak in our name in the peace negotiation process.

    No to laws of pardon and to forgetting!

    Truth, Justice and Full Reparation: non-negotiable rights of the victims of crimes against humanity!

    National meeting of the victims of crimes against humanity and violations of human rights.
    Bogotá, 29th May 2004

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