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Nº 15/99


The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been informed that on 30 May last the dissident armed group known as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) abducted more that one hundred worshippers from a religious service being held in the church of La María, situated in Cali, Republic of Colombia. Despite the fact that more than half of the hostages have been released since that time, a large number of persons is still being held.

The Commission wishes to express its most emphatic condemnation and repudiation of these actions and reiterates that kidnapping and the taking of hostages constitutes a serious crime which is prohibited of international law.

As it has done in the past with reference to violations of international law committed by dissident armed groups, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calls upon the group that is holding the worshippers to respect their lives, security and safety and to release them immediately and unconditionally



Washington, D.C., 2 June 1999