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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Cartagena, Colombia)
For Immediate Release                                    August 30, 2000


Human Rights and U.S. Assistance for Plan Colombia

A central goal of U.S. assistance to Colombia is to promote and protect human rights. The Government of Colombia is committed to improving human rights conditions in Colombia, and President Pastrana has taken important steps to address his country's legacy of human rights abuses. The United States is working with the Pastrana administration to bring an end to impunity for those who violate human rights and to eliminate collaboration between members of the government security forces and paramilitary groups.

Programs to enhance respect for human rights and promote the rule of law are an essential component of President Pastrana's Plan Colombia. Through its assistance package, the United States is supporting the efforts of the Pastrana administration to strengthen the justice system, hold human rights abusers accountable, and address the conditions that breed human rights violations, whether by paramilitaries, insurgents, drug traffickers, or elements of the security forces.

U.S. human rights initiatives in Colombia include: