In its press releases Nos. 11/99 and 15/99, issued on 16 April and 2 June, respectively, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed its most vigorous condemnation of the hijacking of the aircraft and the kidnapping of the passengers aboard Avianca Airlines flight No. 9463 from Bucaramanga to Bogotá on 12 April and the abduction of more than 100 worshippers who were participating in a religious service in the church of La María in Cali, Colombia on 30 May by a faction of an armed dissident group known as the "Army of National Libertadio" Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). The Commission condemned both acts as flagrant violations of international law and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages.
The Commission has followed with great concern the occurrence of these grave incidents and is aware that attempts are now being made to collect ransom for the release of some of the hostages who are still being held. The Commission deplores and condemns this act, which is a flagrant violation of the norms of international law, and once again urges that all those persons who have been unjustly deprived of their freedom be returned safely, immediately and unconditionally to their families.
Washington, D.C., 24 June 1999