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Crowe meets Colombian grass roots political movement

23 April, 2013 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, trade and diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, met three leading members of the Patriotic March, a Colombian grass roots political movement, in Leinster House today.

The Patriotic March is a grass roots political movement which brings together over 2,000 civil society organisations, with the aim of bringing an end to the conflict in Colombia and to promote social justice.

Deputy Crowe said: “I would like to thank Gloria Cuartas, David Florez, and Nidia Quintero of the Patriotic March for visiting Leinster House and briefing members of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It was an extremely informative meeting and we got to hear their views on the Colombian peace process and their justifiable concerns regarding the vulnerability of members of their organisation to attack by anti-democratic and reactionary forces.

“Patriotic March members and supporters live in constant fear of attacks. Last year in Colombia 69 human rights activists, 20 trade union members, and 18 land rights activists were murdered, and over 250 civil society activists were disappeared.

“It is essential that members of the Patriotic March and other peace and opposition groups are given public guarantees on their safety and that the Colombian Government backs this guarantee up with action.

“The safety of opposition and civil society groups is fundamental to any well-functioning democracy.

“Recent comments from leading Colombian Government Ministers, which questioned the democratic legitimacy and peaceful nature of the Patriotic March, have placed their members at risk of assassination and only serve to damage Colombia’s democratic credibility and fragile peace.

“I call on the Colombian Government to ensure the safety and security of all opposition and civil society activists, particularly during this sensitive period of peace talks.”

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