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Notice given 9 May 2007

791  Senator Milne: To move—That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the extensive history of violence directed towards human rights defenders and non-violent activists in Colombia, and

(ii) that Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits violence against civilians in the context of armed conflict that occurs within the borders of a sovereign state and is not of an international character;

(b) recognises the importance of human rights and peace work in the current situation in Colombia;

(c) recalls its resolution of 4 August 2004, in which it expressed its ‘hope that the Colombian Government will guarantee the safety of the people of San José de Apartadó, and of the international observers who accompany them’;

(d) remembers the death of Luis Eduardo Guerra, leader of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, his partner and child, in a massacre of eight people in the Department of Antioquia, Colombia in February 2005;

(e) notes that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has strongly condemned these murders and called on Colombian authorities to prosecute those responsible;

(f) recognises the importance of the Colombian Public Prosecutor calling in 69 soldiers from the 17th Brigade, based in Carepa, Department of Antioquia, for questioning in regards to this tragic crime; and

(g) calls on the Colombian Government to:

(i) ensure that this investigation is carried out in an exhaustive and impartial manner to ascertain all the relevant facts and bring to justice those responsible for the murders, and

(ii) open an investigation of the 130 murders of members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó which have not yet been duly investigated.