President Uribe and other senior Colombian officials have been touring Europe and the United States to seek governments political and financial support for their demobilization law.
In Europe, the response has been lukewarm, though both the Spanish and British governments have indicated a willingness to become involved in verification of the process through the European Union. The member states of the OAS have yet to speak to the issue.
In the United States, responses have been mixed. Several Senators both Republican and Democrat have taken a strong and clear position: support depends on Colombias correcting serious problems in the law, and actually destroying the structure and power of these armed groups. The U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, however, has made statements in favor of the law.
As demonstrated by this report, the governments record and practices so far should not inspire any confidence that the problems in the new law will be overcome in implementation. To the contrary, there is every indication that this process is serving primarily the interests of paramilitary commanders and doing little to advance peace or justice. And once the law has been implemented, and sentence reductions granted, it will be too late for the Colombian government to correct its mistakes and recover its leverage over the paramilitary leadership.
We therefore urge the Colombian government to take immediate action to reform its demobilization law and policies. And we urge other countries and international institutions to abstain from lending their credibility to this process. To do so would be to turn themselves into tools of drug traffickers and killers, and accomplices to a process that undermines human rights, justice, and the already weak rule of law in Colombia.