Press Release

IACHR Condemns Terrorist Attack in Colombia

January 20, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the terrorist attack on the Cadet School of the National Police of Colombia, which occurred on January 17, 2018 in Bogotá, Colombia, leaving at least 21 people dead and 68 wounded. The IACHR expresses its condolences to the families of the young cadets who lost their lives in these repugnant acts of violence that once again affect the Colombian people's desire for peace.

According to public information, the terrorist attack occurred around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 17, when a person forcibly entered the academy's facilities driving a Nissan Patrol model 93 truck loaded with 80 kilos of pentolite. The driver, upon being inspected, accelerated running over a policeman in front of his car, and managed to get into the facilities where the car bomb exploded in front of the women's dormitories.

Colombian authorities identified the driver as Jorge Aldemar Rojas, who, according to initial investigations, is allegedly a member of the National Liberation Army (ELN). According to the statements of the authorities in charge of the investigation, the terrorist act was thought up and carried out by this guerrilla group. Several attempts have been made to initiate a peace process with this group.

The Commission has closely followed the enormous efforts made in Colombia towards the consolidation of peace, a prerequisite for the exercise and respect of human rights. The IACHR reiterates its strong repudiation of the acts of violence that continue to be used by illegal actors who continue to be armed, in order to terrorize the civilian population and intimidate institutions. The IACHR trusts that the State will take all necessary measures to investigate the facts, try and punish those responsible for these serious acts, which constitute the most serious attack recorded in 10 years in the city of Bogotá.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 011/19