Iván Duque announces a reform of the Colombian police force, signaled by the suppression of protests

Colombian President Iván Duque announced a series of changes in the Ministry of Defense and the National Police this Sunday to strengthen their human rights policies amid controversy over the security forces’ actions during the national strike that began six weeks ago.

“Today we are announcing 10 lines of action with which we will deepen the modernization of the Ministry of Defense and the comprehensive transformation of our national police. In doing so, we are strengthening human rights policy and raising standards in the provision of services to citizens, ”said Duque through a thread published on Twitter.

In particular, it announced a new “disciplinary statute” for the police, aimed at “achieving excellence”. “We will reorganize the General Inspectorate and create a new system for receiving complaints and reports. We will also improve the conditions for the members of the institution, ”he said.

Iván Duque announces a reform of the Colombian police force, signaled by the suppression of protests
Iván Duque announces a reform of the Colombian police force, signaled by the suppression of protests

“We will strengthen the training and further education of their men and women. We will implement professional standards on issues such as the use of force, human rights, citizen service and police procedures, ”he added.

The protocols on the use of force are also checked and “we give them”. “We will be submitting a bill in Colombia on the use and trafficking of non-lethal weapons. We will also issue a decree regulating traumatic weapons in the coming days,” he said with a veiled reference to the May 28 incident which civilians armed with this type of weapon shot at protesters in Cali due to the passivity of the police.

In addition, the police will adopt “a blue uniform which is based on the international standards of the police force and reinforces its civilian character”, a color that “conveys empathy, courtesy, calm and trust for the citizens”.

“The Ministry of Defense will be renamed the Ministry of National Defense and Citizen Security. The Vice Ministry of Defense Policy and Citizen Security and the National Police Department of Education are being created to strengthen professional programs of the highest quality,” he added.

On April 28, an indefinite strike against the government of President Iván Duque, the so-called national strike, began to force the withdrawal of a tax reform. Once reached, protesters have continued protests against Duque and in protest against police violence.

Authorities have confirmed 20 deaths directly related to the protests and mobilizations, while another nine are still under investigation. Civil organizations assure that there are many more dead.

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