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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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07/04/05
Victims meet Colombian Ambassador

Victims group FAIR this week cemented relations with the Colombian government with a meeting with the Colombian Ambassador to the UK. On the strength of a personal letter of introduction from a Congressman the group met in Bogota, a delegation from FAIR along with Jeffrey Donaldson MP met with the ambassador and senior advisors in the embassy.

The meeting was arranged to explore future co-operation between FAIR and groups as well as the government in Colombia. The shared sense of victim-hood and the similarity in approach to counter-terrorism and conflict resolution has united the two countries and the meeting set a firm foundation for the future. Both Jeffrey Donaldson and the Ambassador had been involved in political negotiations aimed at bringing peace to their respective countries. Both processes had been undermined by ongoing terrorist activity by the PIRA and FARC.

The issue of the Colombian Three has acted to focus our efforts however the meeting covered a range of matters. The theme FAIR took for its agenda was Victims Solidarity - and its role in Counter-terrorism and Conflict Resolution. FAIR was keen to learn more about the Uribe Administration's Democratic Security and Defence Policy. The foundation of the current Colombian Governments policy approach to terrorism it is a model for governments internationally.

FAIR also presented a position paper to the Ambassador and a dossier on the ongoing links between FARC and the PIRA. It was based on a range of intelligence sources both here and also in Colombia and Venezuela, and outlined recent developments in the terrorists links. Our aim in terms of international policy development is to see Sinn Fein/IRA placed on both the United States and the European List or terrorist Organisations. Secondly we wish to see the International Human Rights Community Reformed and evolved to look beyond state abuses of rights and to tackle the issue of sub-state terrorist groups who are responsible for such abuses. Practical areas of co-operation and issues of shared concern formed the basis of the position paper.

It is clear that terrorists are working and networking internationally and it is now time their victims united and made their voices heard. Victims have a powerful mandate and a right to be involved in the ongoing war on terrorism. They are best placed to expose terrorism and to turn the tide of propaganda and misinformation, and would be valuable allies to any government which wishes to tackle terrorism. Already we can see Sinn Fein/IRA weakened by the recent internationalisation of the victims' message with the McCartney sisters. Adams now aims to try and retake ground lost however we as a group will ensure that he will be met at every turn by the truth.

 



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