The Colombian government must halt its excessive use of force against protestors taking part in the general strike in Buenaventura, Amnesty International said today.
“Instead of trying to silence the communities of Buenaventura, the Colombian authorities should protect residents and focus on responding to their demands given the critical levels of violence and exclusion suffered by the people who live in Colombia’s Pacific region,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Programme Director.
Communities in the port of Buenaventura declared a general strike on 16 May in protest at the government’s continuing failure to respond to their demands for economic, social and cultural rights, including health, drinking water and education.
The communities denounced the excessive use of violence by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squadron (ESMAD) against those participating in the general strike in the city of Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca.
Local NGO Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN) has reported the unjustified use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators, including children and elderly and disabled people.