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Take Action: Urge Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to remove Uribe from panel on Gaza flotilla

Posted on: Monday, August 16, 2010

Keywords: Human Rights Advocacy, Colombia, Israel, Gaza, Palestine, UN, Peace Building

The following is an alert from our friends at Colombia Support Network. Please see below for information on how to take action regarding the appointment of Alvaro Uribe-Velez to the UN's panel of inquiry into the Israeli attack on the Gaza humanitarian flotilla.


        U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he had named Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe Velez to be the Vice-Chair of a U.N. Panel of Inquiry into the May 31 Israeli attack on a six-ship humanitarian flotilla bringing aid to Gaza. Alvaro Uribe is particularly unqualified to be a member of this commission, much less its Vice-Chair, for the following reasons:

  1. His government presided over the murder of thousands of innocent non-combatants, many of them kidnapped and later killed by the military and presented as “guerrillas killed in combat.” This phenomenon became known as “false positives”, a “positive” being Colombian military lingo for a killed guerrilla. When a common grave with some 2,000 bodies was discovered next to a military base in the town of Macarena, Uribe’s response was to praise the military—likely responsible for these deaths---and criticize the human rights workers who brought the mass grave’s existence to light.
  2. Uribe has a long history of support for paramilitary forces, illegal under Colombian law, and his political coalition is composed of many figures with paramilitary ties. High-ranking advisors of President Uribe even received a known paramilitary hitman in the Presidential Palace, almost certainly with Uribe’s knowledge and approval.
  3. As President, Alvaro Uribe oversaw illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court Justices and opposition political leaders, apparently for his own personal political reasons. In fact, he ran the DAS (Colombia’s FBI) as a personal political tool and the agency became involved in all manner of illegal activities, including committing homicides.
  4. In order to win re-election as President in 2006, Uribe, through high-ranking members of his Presidential staff, successfully bribed a Colombian Congresswoman to change her vote to one in favor of his re-election.
  5. Uribe has shown little support for the United Nations in the past. He severely criticized U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia Michael Fruhling, who worked vigorously to protect human rights, and later complained about U.N. investigator Philip Alston, when he examined the “false positives” occurrences.
  6. President Uribe presided over a government whose policies, particularly failure to control paramilitary violence in the countryside, led to the displacement of millions of people, bringing Colombia to the point of having the second largest internally displaced population in the world, 4.5 million people, nearly 10% of the country’s inhabitants.
  7. President Uribe could hardly be considered impartial as a member of the Gaza inquiry panel, since his government had a very close relationship with the Israeli military, sending Colombian military officers to Israel for training and receiving support from Israeli military for Colombian counter-insurgency activities.

Let Secretary General Ban Ki-moon know that you consider the disastrous, failed presidency of Alvaro Uribe Velez, his open hostility toward the United Nations as President, and his obvious bias in favor of Israel grounds for his removal from the Gaza flotilla inquiry panel.

For more information on the subject see:

 I. If you are a representative of an organization, we would like to send an official letter from organizations to the Secretary General, the Prime Minister of Turkey and the State Department. If you want your organization to sign the enclosed letter, please send an email to Dateline August 20th

Dear Mr. Secretary General :

We, the undersigned organizations and persons, request that you 
reconsider the nomination of Alvaro Uribe-Velez, ex-President of 
Colombia, as Vice-chair of the Panel of Inquiry into the Israeli 
attack on the humanitarian flotilla to Gaza. We believe it is 
particularly inappropriate for Mr. Uribe to serve in any capacity on the 
Panel of Inquiry given his record as President of Colombia, which 
includes the above mentioned points.

II. If you are an individual, please write your own message to the Secretary General:

1. His Excellency
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations 3d Floor North Lawn Building
New York, N.Y. 10017
Fax (212) 963 4879
or send your message through the UN website :

Also write to:

2. Prime Minister of Turkey
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
(202) 612 6700
2525 Massachusetts Ave 2008
Fax (202) 612 6744
His Excellency :
3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
4. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Michael Posner :

 In your message you should express that:

President Alvaro Uribe's nomination to the Gaza Flotilla Panel of 
Inquiry should be withdrawn because :
  1. He compiled a very poor human rights record as President of Colombia
  2. He has spoken out against the United Nations on several occasions
  3. His government developed a close relationship with the Israeli military and cannot be considered impartial

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