Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today slammed Kim Howells
after the Foreign Office minister told a newspaper that the British
Union backed campaign group 'Justice for Columbia' supports the
Columbian paramilitary resistance movement FARC (The Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia), branding his remarks "irresponsible" and
"dangerous". The remarks are seen as endangering the lives of human
rights workers and trade unionists working within Columbia, as they
could become victims of retaliatory violence.
Mr. Howells faces fresh criticism after his latest remarks, so soon
after he featured in a series of photographs laughing with General
Montoya, the Commander of Colombian National Army who was last year
named in a US House of Representatives report as having allegedly
"collaborated extensively with militias that the Department of State
considers terrorists organisations", and in another seen posing with
members of a Colombian military unit which human rights groups say was
involved in the murder of trade unionists. (1)
This statement has caused outrage from both Justice For Columbia and
the trade unions that back the group, including Unite, UNISON and the
GMB. They are calling for Kim Howells to withdraw his comments or be
Dr. Wall, who has petitioned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to enter
into negotiations with the FARC for the release of the Oxygen - Green
Party leader Íngrid Betancourt Pulecio said,
"Instead of responding to legitimate concerns raised about British
policy in Colombia, Kim Howells is making irresponsible and unfounded
allegations with no basis in reality and is putting lives at risk in
"Death squads still kill those alleged to be link to paramilitary
groups. Mr Howells' dangerous allegations could result in human
rights activists being killed in the country.
"He must retract his remarks or resign.
"Resignation over policy differences or sex scandals are minor
compared to statements that could potentially lead to loss of life.
New Labour's unethical foreign policy has already led to too many
unnecessary deaths. It must not be responsible for any more, whether
in the Middle East or Latin America.'
Notes for editor
1 - http://www.amicustheunion.org/Default.aspx?page=8154
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