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Journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima returns compensation given to her as victim of conflict

The following is a translation of a statement that was originally published on flip.org.co on 11 May 2016.

Today, 11 May 2016, journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima formally returned to the Colombian State funds that she received as compensation from the National Unit for Victim Reparations (Unidad Nacional de Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas).

This was an independent decision made by the journalist, and motivated by the vast contradiction in the authorities' treatment of her case. On the one hand, there is public recognition of her struggle for justice, but on the other, the State does not accept any responsibility for what happened to her.

The Attorney General's Office has publically maintained that it has fully investigated all facets of the case, yet 16 years have passed with impunity and with serious errors in the investigation. The State argues that its agents did not participate in the attack on Bedoya Lima, while evidence suggests that State officials were involved in the kidnapping, torture and sexual assault of the journalist.

Truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition are interdependent rights that must exist with some consistency when recognized and guaranteed by authorities. Offering a sum of money, yet not acknowledging the truth of events and the role of the State in them, does not only undermine justice, but it also taints and devalues the reparations and their value in restoring dignity to victims.

FLIP supports Bedoya Lima's decision and calls on the Colombian State to provide guarantees necessary for criminal investigations to proceed in a manner that allows for the judgement and punishing of the people who are still not formally linked to the trial. FLIP also expects that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will rule on the merits of the case that has been before it since 2011, so that the case can be brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the responsibility of the Colombian State in the human rights violations against Jineth Bedoya Lima can be asserted.

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