Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release

10 Aug 2010
Choice of “investigators” into Flotilla massacre controversial, say Palestinian and Latin American rights groups

Choice of “investigators” into Flotilla massacre controversial, say Palestinian and Latin American rights groups

Latin America Solidarity Committee and Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaaign

Press Release Friday 6th August 2010

Palestinian and Latin American rights campaigners in Ireland have reacted strongly to the appointment of outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez to one of two United Nations commissions set up to inquire into the Mavi Marmara massacre on May 31 in international waters while they approached the besieged Gaza Strip.

Mavi Marmara
The MV Mavi Marmara

President Uribe, selected from a shortlist provided by Israel, is to be one of four commissioners on the UN panel of investigation, appointed by UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon that has been met with approval of the Israeli government. The other panel put forward by the UN Human Rights Commission, was not approved by Israel.

“The appointment of Uribe to a panel investigating Human Rights abuses jeopardizes the very notion of Human Rights” said Jose Antonio Gutierrez, Development Officer with the Dublin-based Latin America Solidarity Centre “In Uribe’s Colombia, massacres and human rights abuses which had Colombian State forces’ finger prints all over them have occurred regularly. His disregard for the work of human rights defenders is well known. To cite just one example, instead of condemning the military perpetrators of the murders of some 2,000 people found at a mass grave at La Macarena, he gave succour to the Colombian army and attacked human rights defenders calling them terrorist fellow-travellers”.

The view was echoed by Freda Hughes, of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign; “The appointment of President Alvaro Uribe to the panel investigating the Mavi Marmara massacre could be considered a joke, were its consequences not so serious. How can you expect impartiality from the head of a state which has strong links both to the US and the Israeli military, a country whose defence minister said to feel proud when they were called the Israel of Latin America? This move seriously undermines the credibility and impartiality of this panel nominated by Ban Ki Moon. Uribe’s record on human rights is nothing short of appalling; he has been widely condemned by the international human rights community among whom his scorn for human rights defenders is notorious. He is not suitable for the job and should be removed if the panel is to have any credibility”.

Read the full joint IPSC & LASC statement - Click here (PDF)

See also: Uribe's appointment to flotilla probe guarantees its failure (LASC & IPSC article on Electronic Intifada)





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