Colombia has endured vicious conflicts throughout its country for the past 36 years. It is considered to be the one of the most violent places in the world, with a murder rate of eight times greater than the United States. Colombias army troops, consisting of the 12th Brigade, rebels, guerillas and paramilitaries, have not made the horrendous war any better. Washington has singled out the 12th Brigade for its severe brutality towards civilians to the point of U.S aid suspension. The Colombian people constantly live in fear, not only from criminals, but their own troops as well. In the article, Columbian Army to Push Human Rights armed forces commander General Fernando Tapias says, Civilians should find, in a soldier, a defender of their fundamental rights and a guardian of democracy. Yet, this statement couldnt be farther from reality.
Everyday Colombians are beaten, raped and shot to death by their own military and its about time someone took a stand for the rights of the innocent people. In the past couple years, the human rights cases against the government have dropped, the soldiers have been taught what is expectable on the battlefield and it is now become mandatory for them to carry a human rights booklet. This is because the issue of human rights has become public, and it is necessary to increase awareness in order to abolish the violence against civilians.
It is shocks me to hear of the violent culture that engulfs Colombia. With its tremendously high rate of miracle fishing (Kidnapping), 200 bombs in less than 15 years, everyday assaults, robberies, spiking with scopolamine and murder rate of 77.5 per 100,000 people, Colombia almost makes hell look like a decent environment. The fact that hundreds of police officers, judges, investigators, presidential candidates, and of course thousands of Colombian citizens are murdered with the attitude of so it goes (Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five) shows that their Nation has been very badly damaged, psychologically as well as physically.
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Washingtons helping hand of hundreds of millions of dollars is apparently not serving its purpose. The war continues to escalate and concerns for human rights is forever increasing. Col. Julian Villate is proof that the Country does not have its priorities straight in addressing this issue. He says:
Complying with International human rights standards is an easy way of obtaining international support to win this war. It is also the required standard of behavior for any human being.
Why should one feel the need to comply with treating a person with simple respect, with giving second thoughts to clubbing then in the head or shooting them point blank? And why do they feel the need to commit unnecessary violence? These human rights standards should be a natural for the people, not something they have to think twice about and obey to.
The United States is tremendously lucky to operate under system that isnt so threatened that they have to remind their people what human rights are, and require them to abide by the rules to win support in a war. Colombia has just begun the journey towards rights for its people, and its not going to be an easy one, but if achieved the results will be quite fulfilling after a lifetime of rage.
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