OHCHR / COLOMBIA

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04-May-2021 00:02:00
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said it was “deeply alarmed at developments in the city of Cali in Colombia overnight, where police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against tax reforms, reportedly killing and injuring a number of people,” according to a spokesperson. OHCHR

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STORY: OHCHR / COLOMBIA
TRT: 2:01
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: SPANISH / NATS

DATELINE: 04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Marta Hurtado, Spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Estamos profundamente alarmados por los acontecimientos ocurridos en la ciudad de Cali en Colombia la pasada noche, cuando la policía abrió fuego contra los manifestantes que protestaban contra la reforma tributaria, matando e hiriendo a varias personas, según la información recibida.
Nuestra oficina en Colombia está trabajando para verificar el número exacto de víctimas y establecer las circunstancias de estos terribles incidentes en Cali. Las personas defensoras de derechos humanos también informaron que han sido acosadas y amenazadas.
Expresamos nuestra consternación por los sucesos ocurridos y resaltamos nuestra solidaridad con las personas que perdieron la vida, con las que resultaron heridas y con sus familiares.
A pesar de que la presidencia de Colombia anunció el 2 de mayo que el proyecto de reforma tributaria sería retirado del Congreso, las protestas, que comenzaron el 28 de abril, han continuado, con la convocatoria de una manifestación masiva mañana 5 de mayo. Hasta la fecha, la mayoría de las protestas han sido pacíficas.
Dada la situación extremadamente tensa, con soldados y policías desplegados para vigilar la protesta, hacemos un llamamiento a la calma. Recordamos a las autoridades del Estado su responsabilidad de proteger los derechos humanos, incluido el derecho a la vida y a la seguridad personal, y de facilitar el ejercicio del derecho a la libertad de reunión pacífica.
Resaltamos también que los agentes encargados de hacer cumplir la ley deben respetar los principios de legalidad, precaución, necesidad y proporcionalidad a la hora de vigilar las manifestaciones. Las armas de fuego sólo pueden utilizarse como último recurso ante una amenaza inminente de muerte o de lesiones graves.
Desde el 28 de abril, la Oficina de la Alta Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos ha recibido denuncias de al menos 14 muertes en el contexto de las protestas en diferentes partes de Colombia, entre ellas la de al menos un agente de policía.”

(English translation) “We are deeply alarmed at developments in the city of Cali in Colombia overnight, where police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against tax reforms, reportedly killing and injuring a number of people.
Our office in Colombia is working to verify the exact number of casualties and establish how this terrible incident came about in Cali. Human rights defenders are also reporting they have been harassed and threatened.
We express our profound shock at the events there and stress our solidarity with those who have lost their lives, as well as the injured and their families.
Despite an announcement from the Colombian presidency on 2 May that the tax reform bill would be removed from Congress, the protests, which began on 28 April, have been continuing, with calls for a massive demonstration tomorrow, 5 May. The majority of the protests to date have been peaceful.
Given the extremely tense situation, with soldiers as well as police officers deployed to police the protest, we call for calm. We remind the State authorities of their responsibility to protect human rights, including the right to life and security of person, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
We stress also that law enforcement officers should abide by the principles of legality, precaution, necessity and proportionality when policing demonstrations. Firearms can only be used as a measure of last resort against an imminent threat to life or of serious injury.
Since 28 April, the UN Human Rights Office has received allegations of at least 14 deaths in the context of the protests in different parts of Colombia, including at least one police officer.”

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

3. Aerial shot, Palais Wilson

STORYLINE:

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said it was “deeply alarmed at developments in the city of Cali in Colombia overnight, where police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against tax reforms, reportedly killing and injuring a number of people,” according to a spokesperson.

In a statement released today (04 May), OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado said the UN human rights office in Colombia was working to verify the exact number of casualties and establish how “this terrible incident came about in Cali.” Hurtado added that human rights defenders are also reporting they have been harassed and threatened.

She said, “We express our profound shock at the events there and stress our solidarity with those who have lost their lives, as well as the injured and their families.”

Despite an announcement from the Colombian presidency on 2 May that the tax reform bill would be removed from Congress, the protests, which began on 28 April, have been continuing, with calls for a massive demonstration tomorrow, 5 May. The majority of the protests to date have been peaceful.

Hurtado said, “Given the extremely tense situation, with soldiers as well as police officers deployed to police the protest, we call for calm. We remind the State authorities of their responsibility to protect human rights, including the right to life and security of person, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”

The OHCHR spokesperson also stressed that law enforcement officers should abide by the principles of “legality, precaution, necessity and proportionality” when policing demonstrations. She said firearms can only be used as a measure of last resort against an imminent threat to life or of serious injury.

Since 28 April, the UN Human Rights Office has received allegations of at least 14 deaths in the context of the protests in different parts of Colombia, including at least one police officer, Hurtado said.
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OHCHR
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unifeed210504a
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