The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been informed that María Borrero, Mildred Salazar, Rosa de La Cruz, Francisco Javier Osorio Alvarez, Jorge Balaguer, Federico Arango, Manolo Shcraer, Orlando Rodríguez Saavedra, and Boris Rodríguez Martínez, who were kidnapped last June 6 in the vicinity of Barranquilla, Republic of Colombia, are still being held by their captors. This kidnapping was apparently carried out by the armed rebel group known as the National Liberation Army (ELN), which seized the group of civilians at El Torno swamp while they were engaged in recreational sailing on the Río Magdalena.
The IACHR reiterates that kidnapping civilians and holding them as hostages are serious crimes prohibited by the norms of international law. It therefore expresses its most vigorous condemnation and repudiation of this incident.
As it has done in relation to past incidents involving illegal acts by armed dissident groups, the IACHR urges these civilians captors to respect their lives and their personal integrity, and to proceed to free all of them immediately and unconditionally.
Washington, D.C., November 2, 1999.