Media Center

Press Release


  June 29, 2007

A special session of the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council has vehemently condemned the assassination of 11 Colombian deputies kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The 34 OAS member states also supported the peace initiatives being pursued by President Álvaro Uribe’s government.

Convened Friday at the request of Colombia’s Permanent Mission to the OAS, the Permanent Council session unanimously adopted a Declaration urging the FARC to immediately hand over the victims’ bodies to the family members. The hemispheric Council also commended the Colombian government’s readiness to establish an international fact-finding commission to investigate the incident.

In the Declaration, the member states described the kidnapping as a heinous crime, and urge the illegal groups to “release immediately, safe and sound, all the kidnapped persons.”

Addressing the Permanent Council, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza called the tragedy “one of the greatest obstacles to the peace process in Colombia.” In reiterating the hemispheric organization’s commitment to the process of peace, justice, truth and reconciliation in Colombia, Secretary General Insulza repeated the demand for the hostages to be released and good-faith negotiations launched, to end the long-running armed conflict in that beloved country.

Colombian Alternate Representative to the OAS Mauricio Baquero expressed his government’s appreciation for the delegations’ outpouring of solidarity, and accentuated the unconditional release of the hostages as priority for his country. “Besides being reprehensible in and of itself, this incident also represents an assault on Colombia’s democratic institutions and an obstacle to efforts by the government to guarantee all Colombians their fundamental rights,” Baquero remarked.

Meanwhile, the guerrilla group issued a press release yesterday stating that the 11 deputies were killed on June 18. The political leaders were kidnapped in the Departmental Assembly building in Valle del Cauca, in western Colombia, in April 2002. The FARC has on eight occasions since then issued proof that they were alive.

El Salvador’s Ambassador Abigail Castro de Pérez, chairing the Permanent Council meeting, conveyed to the families of the victims their sympathies over “this horrendous crime,” and urged the FARC to immediately release the victim’s bodies.

The Declaration is at:

Reference: E-162/07