Colombia: Military Aid

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Chair, Parliamentary Labour Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he collects on the effectiveness of the human rights training delivered to the Colombian military by the UK.

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

holding answer 9 March 2009

We monitor civil society, media and UN reports on the Colombian military's human rights performance. UK co-operation with the Colombian Ministry of Defence strongly influenced their new Integral Policy on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and reinforced their work with UN Agencies.

While these new policies are to be welcomed, we are concerned by recent reports of abuses committed or allowed by members of the Colombian army. I issued a statement on the issue on 30 October 2008:

"The Colombian government's decision to dismiss a number of army officers as a result of recent extra-judicial killings and cases of criminal conspiracy is important. It is vital, not least for Colombia's international reputation, that the government and courts continue to show a determination to deal with human rights abuses committed by members of the armed forces, and that those convicted by the civilian justice system are punished appropriately."

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