Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has expressed deep concern at the levels of violence being committed by Police against protestors in Colombia.
Teachta Brady said:
“This last week we have witnessed shocking events in Colombia, where Police have been responsible for the deaths of anywhere between 18 or 31 killings of protestors.
“Ordinary Colombians had taken to the streets to protest planned tax reforms, which have since been withdrawn, and to highlight the failure of the Colombian Government to deal with human rights abuses, and to advance the Colombian Peace Process.
“In the resulting attack on civilians, not only are the Colombian Police engaged in a systematic campaign of violence against protestors, but they are doing so with the clear and unapologetic approval of the political leadership in Colombia.
“In addition, there are reports of a number of sexual assaults that were carried out by Police against protestors. Police appear to be engaged in the practice of firing tear gas canisters at point blank range into the faces of protestors. This sinister practice, first seen in Chile, is leading to serious eye injuries, with at least one protestor having lost the sight in one eye.
“Despite the clamour of protest and outrage from across the globe, we have seen little but a tepid response from our own government.
“I want to clearly call upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, and the Irish Ambassador to Colombia, Alison Kinvara, to make firm and unambiguous statements condemn the Police violence, and to defend the right of the Colombian people to peaceful protest.”