The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as "the Commission") has been informed that on 21 May last in the city of Medellín, Colombia, the Liberal Party senator Piedad Córdoba de Castro was kidnapped by a group of armed men pretending to be agents of the Attorney General's Office. Hours later, the paramilitary organization known as Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and set a number of conditions for the release of the member of Congress from Antioquía, who is chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Senate of the Republic and who has distinguished herself for her valiant efforts in defense of the fundamental freedoms of her fellow citizens.
As the principal organ of the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights, the Commission condemns in the most emphatic terms this serious attack against the rule of law and on peace in Colombia. It issues an urgent appeal to those who are holding Ms. Córdoba de Castro to respect her life and personal integrity and to immediately release her. It also calls upon the State of Colombia to take all necessary measures to locate the senator's whereabouts and to return her to her family. It should also investigate and punish those responsible for the kidnapping and other crimes which may have been committed during this incident.
Washington, D.C., 24 May 1999