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Published by: eurolex on Nov 23, 2010
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C 102/94
3. 4. 98Official Journal of the European Communities(98/C 102/136)
WRITTEN QUESTION E-2697/97by Maartje van Putten (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)Subject:
Cooperation with ColombiaIn response to recent events the Dutch Presidency has issued declarations expressing its repugnance at themurders and its concern at the high level of immunity from punishment in Colombia. At the same time it haswelcomed the release of some 70 soldiers and sailors who had been held hostage as an encouraging sign, whileexpressing the hope that this would mark the beginning of a process of dialogue and reconciliation towardsending the domestic conflict.1. Can the Commission say what potential it sees for supporting civilian peace initiatives (e.g. the creation of peace zones), and what initiatives it may already had taken?2. Can the Commission say what scope it sees for encouraging application of the principles of theconstitutional state in Colombia, or what conditions have to be satisfied if the European Union wishes to be ableto exert a positive influence on this?3. Can the Commission say what it has done in recent years to offer aid to all the displaced persons inColombia and what new initiatives are likely in this respect, e.g. under Regulation No 443/97 (
) OJ L 68, 8.3.1997, p. 1.
Answer given by Mr Marı´n on behalf of the Commission
(2 October 1997)
1. The Community has been following the development of the situation in Colombia closely and withconcern. It can only intervene to a very limited extent because of the violence that is rife in the country and theextremely unstable political situation. It is therefore focusing on humanitarian operations to assist displacedpopulation groups. However, it is currently examining what specific measures it could take to increase itsassistance to peace initiatives. It should be noted that very substantial financial contributions to setting up anoffice of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Bogota are being made by both theCommission (ECU 500 000) and the Member States.2. One of the Commission’s priorities for Colombia is to support the rule of law in that country. It is wellaware of the limitations of these efforts. A large proportion of Colombia’s territory is not under the control of thecentral authorities and all the State institutions are extremely weak. Despite these constraints, the Commissionhas been making significant contributions to initiatives in this direction in three essential areas:reinforcing the presence of the international community in the country (the financing of the UN HighCommission for Human Rights office referred to above)financing initiatives to assist local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to promote democracy anddefend human rightsproviding structural assistance (capacity building) for that part of the administration more directlyresponsible for enforcing the rule of law. As part of this assistance the Commission is currently drawing upan important support project for the administration of justice.3. Over recent years the Commission has implemented many initiatives to assist displaced persons, in twodifferent ways:directly: in 1997 the Commission has allocated ECU 4.5 million of humanitarian aid, to be administered byEuropean NGOs. Also, under Regulation (EC) No 443/97 (
), to which the Honourable Member refers,financing of ECU 800 000 was provided in 1996 for a project in the north-east of Colombia. Given the scaleof the assistance it is providing, a permanent coordinator of Commission aid − the only one in Latin America− has been appointed for Colombia;

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