Colombia president announces policing changes as protest leaders call off talks

Colombia’s authorities will ask congress to approve higher human rights coaching for police and improve oversight of officers, President Ivan Duque stated on Sunday, amid accusations of police brutality throughout latest anti-government protests.

An umbrella nationwide strike committee, made up of unions, scholar teams and different civil society organizations, suspended negotiations with the federal government aimed toward reaching a deal to finish demonstrations as a result of it says the federal government has not but signed a pre-agreement reached late final month.

Authorities negotiators, in the meantime, stated the pre-agreements had been a draft and the committee unilaterally ended the talks, overlaying all the pieces from healthcare to a primary earnings.

The lawyer basic’s workplace says 20 deaths are linked on to greater than a month of demonstrations towards Duque’s social and financial insurance policies, whereas rights teams report dozens killed by safety forces.

Extreme use of power throughout marches has drawn worldwide condemnation and at the very least three officers are actually dealing with homicide fees.

The federal government will ask Congress to approve the creation of a police human rights directorate, which can search worldwide assistance on coverage, and a brand new schooling directorate for officer coaching, Duque introduced throughout a ceremony to have fun police promotions.

“On this construction the safety, prevention and respect for human rights can be marked as a result of within the nationwide police a directorate of human rights can be created,” stated Duque.

Assist for human rights needs to be given all institutional backing “in the present day greater than ever”, he stated.

The regulation, to be proposed on the primary day of the following legislative session in July, would additionally create a brand new complaints system and increase disciplinary requirements for officers.

The federal government can also be engaged on a regulation to determine legit use of power standards and one other to manage the use and sale of less-lethal weapons, Duque stated.

The federal government has maintained police haven’t used firearms when intervening to manage looting or different disturbances throughout protests, however as an alternative non-lethal weapons.

Teams such as Human Rights Watch say misuse of non-lethal weapons can result in deaths.

Protesters have lengthy demand the dissolution of the dreaded ESMAD riot squad and the switch of the police out of the remit of the protection ministry.

Each concepts have been repeatedly rejected by the federal government, however Duque stated Colombia will search worldwide skilled recommendation on greatest observe for the ESMAD.

The title of the protection ministry can be formally modified to the Ministry of Nationwide Protection and Citizen Safety.

New police uniforms will incorporate physique cameras to report officer interactions with residents and can characteristic figuring out QR codes and extra seen names and ranks.

The federal government has repeatedly demanded the strike committee condemn blockades linked to protests which have led to shortages and stymied transport of high exports oil, coal and espresso.

“Immediately the committee has determined to unilaterally droop the dialogue,” authorities negotiators stated in a press release.

“We, the authorities are prepared. We’ve been instructed by the president to succeed in a textual content with ensures and to tackle the (committee’s) calls for.”

“The committee has left the nation in arrears, with out condemning the blockades,” it stated, including Duque’s announcement of changes to policing was an instance of the federal government’s dedication to defending peaceable protest.

“The query needs to be when the federal government will signal the pre-agreements to start out a negotiation,” strike committee and union chief Francisco Maltes informed journalists, blaming Duque for the scenario.

Seven cops who allegedly stood by as individuals in civilian garments fired on protesters late final month can be prosecuted for failure to uphold their duties, the navy judicial system stated late on Saturday.

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