2. Does the Commission not believe that, as a matter of urgency, the Union should call for respect for humanrights, which are being violated even by the so-called security forces, and insist on the immediate disbandment of the paramilitary groups that have committed thousands of murders in Colombia?3. Does it not believe that bilateral relations between the EU and Colombia should be made subject to respectfor civilized coexistence and cooperation activities should be curtailed unless they are intended to servehumanitarian purposes in the strict sense?
Answer given by Mr Marín on behalf of the Commission
(7 May 1998)
1. The Commission has repeatedly made clear that it shares fully Parliament’s concerns at the situation inColombia, which has grown steadily worse in recent months. It will spare no effort in seeking an end to themultiple crimes against the civilian population and the near total immunity currently enjoyed by the perpetrators.With theMember States’diplomaticmissions on thespot, theCommission ismonitoring thetrialof thepresumedmurderers of Giacomo Turra, the Italian national murdered by Colombian police in Cartagena on 3 September1995. The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Mr Dell’Alba’s written questionE-4108/97. (
)2. The Commission is likewise persuaded of the need for the international community to play a greater part inmonitoring the situation in Colombia, notably by keeping a permanent watch on the human rights situation.However, any initiative aimed at isolating Colombia would simply increase the level of violence.The Commission attaches the utmost importance to the role of the local office of the UN High Commissioner forHuman Rights, and is following with interest the results of the presentation of its first annual report to the 54thsession of the Human Rights Committee, which took place from 16 March to 24 April in Geneva. It has alreadytaken steps to guarantee the continuation of its activities for another year. It should be remembered that theCommission is funding the provision of five international observers, who constituted the bulk of the Bogotaoffice’s staff throughout its first year of operations.3. As regards the aid programme to which the Honourable Member refers, it should be stressed that under theterms of the rules governing humanitarian aid, such aid, given its objective,is not guided by or subject to politicalconsiderations. The other forms of aid Colombia receives from the Commission are largely targeted at the mostdisadvantaged sections of the population. The Commission enlists the help of a large number of local andinternational NGOs in implementing its aid.The Commission is therefore not directlyaiding the Colombian government, so any reduction in aid would hit theneediest hardest.
) OJ C 196, 22.6.1998.
WRITTEN QUESTION E-0970/98by Robin Teverson (ELDR) to the Commission
(30 March 1998)Subject:
Delays in ESF payments for 1996Can the Commission confirm that it is taking action to speed up final payment on outstanding ESF claims for1996? Some project managers in my constituencyare still awaitingfinal payment of their 1996 ESF claimswhichthey submitted in December 1996 − a 15 − month delay!C 386/64 EN 11.12.98Official Journal of the European Communities