HRW Americas director Jose Miguel Vivanco accused of terrorism by former President Uribe

February 24, 2021

Using the accusation of terrorism against human rights organisations is an old trick. Adriaan Alsema in Colombia reports of 22 February 2021 relates how the Americas director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is called a “FARC activist,” by Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe in response to criticism over war crimes.

HRW Americas director Jose Miguel Vivanco said Uribe and his far-right Democratic Center party were lying and distorting the truth about the civilians who were murdered and presented as guerrillas killed in combat when Uribe was in office. Colombia’s war crimes tribunal announced last week that it would prioritize investigations into the extrajudicial executions of 6.400 civilians between 2002 and 2008 when Uribe was president. Last week’s announcement of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace to prioritize the military’s mass killing of civilians implied that almost half of the 12908 combat kills reported by the Defense Ministry between 2002 and 2008 in fact referred to executed civilians.

Vivanco [a well-respected HRD, see:] called the former president’s accusation “absurd.”

Uribe has spent decades falsely accusing anyone who criticizes him of links to the FARC. It is time for the former president to learn to discuss without insults, respect the work of defending human rights and end his dangerous stigmatizations.

Colombia’s former president has been accusing critics, journalists and detractors of all kinds of things, including “terrorism accomplices,” in response to criticism.

Individual security provisions offered to some activists by the government are not sufficient, HRW Americas director Jose Miguel Vivanco told Reuters. “The murders of defenders aren’t going to be solved just with bodyguards and cars,” he said.

We’re lacking a comprehensive response from the state to protect the population, dismantle armed groups, guarantee justice and encourage local development,” Vivanco said.

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