Sheehan raises concerns at mistreatment of Colombian political prisoners.
Sinn Féin International spokesperson at the Assembly, and former 1981 H-Block hunger striker, Pat Sheehan MLA, has called on the Colombian Government to bring an end to the FARC political prisoner protest issue and move to conclusion and implementation of current peace negotiations.
Responding to reports from Colombia that over 1000 FARC political prisoners have embarked on a hunger strike highlighting a critical lack of proper healthcare facilities to seriously injured and sick prisoners Sheehan said:
“Sinn Féin have major concerns at reports of mistreatment of political prisoners in Colombia which has inevitably led to a mass prison protest.
“This comes at a time when the Colombian peace process is developing positively and hopefully, in the near future, will be brought to a successful conclusion.
“Our experience tells us that peace processes require commitment, determination and visionary leadership to deal with the many difficult and apparently intractable issues. They also require the creation of positive momentum and trust developing gestures from, and to, all sides of the conflict.
“In all such processes the issue of political prisoners, amongst many other important matters, is central to ensuring the development of trust and confidence between protagonists. It is with this in mind, and from a humanitarian perspective, we call on the Colombian Government to do all in it's power to bring an end to the circumstances that have brought about the need for prisoners to embark on this dangerous path.
“All prisoners are entitled to proper medical attention. Refusal to provide the highest possible humanitarian treatment to captured combatants is an abuse of power and will rightly be condemned by the international community.
“We urge the Colombian government to end their policy of mistreatment of prisoners, focus on a successful conclusion to peace negotiations helping to create a new society in Colombia built on justice, democracy, equality and freedom for all it's citizens.”