Our age which has often been so cruel, can now pride itself on having witnessed the birth of a universal human rights movement. In all walks of life brave individuals are standing up for their brothers who have been reduced to silence by oppression or poverty. Their struggle has transcended all frontiers, and their weapon is knowledge… Defending human rights today means above all bringing the most secret crimes to light. It means trying to find out and daring to speak out with complete objectivity, something which requires courage and occasionally, even heroism… The United Nations is cognizant that, for human rights to be more fully recognized and respected, the awareness and support of all are required. (Javier Perez de Cuellar, then-Secretary General of the United Nations)
Popoyán, March 6, 2012
As a popular saying goes, there is nobody deafer than one who does not want to hear, and nobody blinder than one who does not want to see. It has been a tradition of armed groups — and there is not a single exception to this rule — to claim that it is their enemy who must respect Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. All make an effort to show that, in combat, civilian victims and damage to social infrastructure are the other’s fault. This lunacy is such that they see enemies not only along the riverbank, but in the river itself, and to justify this interpretation, they search in unorthodox ways to clean up what they consider to be murky. As such, they end up doing irreparable damage to the environment and sacrificing the core spirit of their struggle.