The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has learned of the hijacking of Avianca Airlines flight No. 9463 and the fact that its passengers have been taken hostage, apparently by the armed dissident group known as Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), in the Republic of Colombia. The hijacking of the plane, while it transported 40 passengers from Bucaramanga to Santafé de Bogotá, took place on April 12. Some of the 40 passengers initially taken hostage have already been released.
In the light of these events, the ICHR wishes to express its emphatic condemnation and repudiation of the hijacking of the aircraft and the seizure of its passengers as hostages. Acts such as these constitute serious offenses prohibited by the rules of international law.
As it has in the past with respect to unlawful acts attributable to armed dissident groups, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calls upon the group holding the passengers of Avianca flight 9463 to respect their lives, safety and physical integrity and to release them immediately and unconditionally.
Washington, D.C., April 16, 1999