Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UK cuts off military aid to Colombia

UK ends bilateral military aid to Colombia
Sibylla Brodzinsky in Bogotá, Wednesday 29 April 2009 12.31 BST

Britain has quietly ended nearly a decade of military aid to Colombia's armed forces after accusations of gross violations of human rights, including the murder of civilians who were shot and reported as guerrillas killed in combat.

The Colombian government was "extremely surprised" by the decision to cut off the bilateral cooperation programmes, the deputy defence minister, Sergio Jaramillo, told the Guardian.

The British foreign secretary, David Miliband, announced the move in a written statement to the House of Commons last month, stating that the government "shares the concern … that there are officers and soldiers of the Colombian armed forces who have been involved in, or allowed, abuses".

"Our bilateral human rights projects with the Colombian ministry of defence will cease," the statement said.