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RIC Query - Colombia (4 March 2004)
|Response to Information Request Number:||COL04002.ZSF|
|Date:||March 04, 2004|
|Subject:||Colombia: Information on the Infiltration of the Communist Youth (JUCO) by Police 1993-1995 and the Targeting of Police by Guerrillas|
|From:||CIS Resource Information Center|
|Keywords:||Colombia / FARC / Police / Police investigation / Patriotic Union (UP) / Political violence|
What happened to individuals informed on by Colombian military police officers who had infiltrated the Juventud Comunista (Communist Youth, JUCO) between 1993 and 1995? Is it possible that the police officers who infiltrated JUCO included police as young as 16 to 18 years of age? To what extent do the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC) target individual members of the Colombian military or police?
REGARDING THE CONSEQUENCES FOR PEOPLE INFORMED ON BY A MEMBER OF THE COLOMBIAN MILITARY POLICE WHO INFILTRATED THE JUCO:
The JUCO is the youth wing of the Partido Comunista Colombiano (Colombian Communist Party, PCC). Both the JUCO and the PCC have provided support to the FARC. In the mid-1980s the FARC and the Colombian government negotiated an agreement to allow for the establishment of a new political party that would include guerrillas willing to lay down arms and stand for election. The new party, the Unión Patriotica (Patriotic Union, UP), was formed by sectors of the FARC and the PCC, including its JUCO youth branch. In the second half of the 1980s, after the UP had done relatively well in national elections, it began to be systematically targeted by the Colombian military, security forces and allied paramilitary groups, with UP members being killed throughout the country. In 1993 Amnesty International reported that the UP continued to be a specific target of political homicides. By 1994, according to official reports, nearly 2,400 members of the UP had been murdered, the party leadership decimated, and none of the murders resolved. In 1998, the PCC said that more than 4,000 members of the UP, PCC and JUCO had been killed since 1985 (Dudley 2004, Bushnell 1993, Ruiz 2001, IPS 11 Aug 1994, AP 8 Jul 1993, CSM 26 May 1994, PCC 30 Mar 1998).
REGARDING THE PLAUSIBILITY OF THE COLOMBIAN MILITARY AND POLICE RECRUITING YOUTHS AS YOUNG AS 16 TO 18 FOR UNDERCOVER INFILTRATION OPERATIONS:
During the 1990s, the Colombian military and police recruited high school aged youths and sometimes younger by the thousands. Human Rights Watch reported in 1998 that the Colombian military and police had more than 15,000 minors in their ranks. As late as 1996, Colombian law still required students in their final year of high school to serve in the military. Although Human Rights Watch did not specifically mention undercover operations such as the JUCO infiltration, it did say that some youth recruits were used as informants and to collect intelligence, and that minors were often used in high-risk, conflict situations (HRW 8 Oct 1998, IPS 14 Nov 1996).
REGARDING THE FARC'S TARGETING OF INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AND POLICE:
Since the 1990s the FARC has captured hundreds of soldiers and police, some during combat while others have been abducted outside of combat situations for reasons not always easy to discern. Many have been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment by the guerrillas, and many have been or continue to be held hostage as the FARC has leveraged the government into exchanging captured FARC guerrillas for some of them (HRW 10 Jul 2001, CSM 24 Aug 1999).
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Associated Press (AP). Sequera, Vivian. "Amnesty International Annual Report Documents Massive Abuses" (Caracas: 8 Jul 1993).
Bushnell, David. THE MAKING OF MODERN COLOMBIA: A NATION IN SPITE OF ITSELF (University of California Press: Berkeley, CA, 1993), p. 258.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (CSM). Dermota, Ken. "The Death of a Political Party" (Bogotá: 26 May 1994).
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (CSM). Hodgson, Martin. "In Colombia, Prisoner Swap Is Sticky Point" (San Vicente del Caguan, Colombia: 24 Aug 1999).
Colombian Communist Party (PCC). Communiqué (30 Mar 1998) ¿ Colombia Support Network: www.colombiasupport.net/wnu/wnuota040598.html.
Dudley, Steven. WALKING GHOSTS: MURDER AND GUERRILLA POLITICS IN COLOMBIA (Routledge: New York, 2004), p. 24.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). CHILD SOLDIERS USED BY ALL SIDES IN COLOMBIA'S ARMED CONFLICT (New York, 8 Oct 1998), www.hrw.org/press98/oct/childsold1008.htm.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). COLOMBIA: REBEL ABUSES WORSENING ¿ HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH LETTER TO COMMANDER MANUEL MARULANDA (New York: 10 Jul 2001), www.hrw.org/press/2001/07/farc-0709.ltr-htm.
Inter Press Service (IPS). García, Maria Isabel. "Colombia: Senator's Murder Darkens Road to Peace" (Bogotá: 11 Aug 1994)
Inter Press Service (IPS). Ferrer, Yadira. "Colombia: Children Both Victims and Victimizers" (Bogotá: 14 Nov 1996).
Ruiz, Bert. THE COLOMBIAN CIVIL WAR (McFarland & Company: Jefferson, NC, 2001), p. 168, 171.