This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:5/19/03
Overview of Colombia-related sections in H.R. 1950, the House of Representatives' version of the 2004-5 Foreign Relations Authorization Act

The bill was introduced into the house by the Committee on International Relations, which marked it up on May 5, 2003.

Sec. 703 (a) recalls that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, also known as the AUC paramilitary group, is a foreign terrorist organization due to its use of such "terrorist methods" as massacres and forced displacement, as well as its involvement in narcotics trafficking. The section highlights the continuing problem of members of Colombia's security forces illegal collaborating with the paramilitaries, whether through active assistance or through failing to take preventive action before gross violations of human rights occur. The section also notes the lack of substantial improvement in human rights abuses, as cited in September 2002 by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Washington Office on Latin America. Finally, the section cites the 2003 foreign aid bill, which requires that $5,000,000 support a Colombian armed forces unit dedicated to capturing paramilitary leaders.

Sec. 703 (b) would require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress regarding the Colombian authorities' efforts to "apprehend effectively and prosecute aggressively" the leaders of paramilitary organizations. The report would be submitted within 30 days after the enactment of the bill and every 180 days thereafter, and only after the State Department consults with internationally recognized human rights organizations.

Sec. 703 (c) would require this report to identify the Colombian armed forces units receiving aid to apprehend paramilitary leaders, as well as to describe the amount and purposes of the assistance. The report would describe the Colombian authorities' efforts to apprehend and arrest such leaders, along with a list of detentions, captures, and arrests, and the status of investigations and prosecutions of cases before the Colombian Attorney General's office. Finally, the report would estimate the number of hours that the Colombian military has used helicopters provided under Plan Colombia and successor programs to apprehend paramilitary leaders.

Sec. 1331 would expand the aerial drug interdiction program to allow the targeting of suspected arms-smuggling aircraft. This program, which involves U.S. personnel passing information about suspicious flights to the Colombian and Peruvian air forces, has been suspended since April 2001, when the Peruvian Air Force accidentally shot down a planeload of U.S. missionaries. It is expected to resume in mid-2003.

Sec. 1332 would require the Secretary of State to ensure, within 180 days of the bill's passage, that all pilots participating in the U.S. opium eradication program in Colombia be fully trained, qualified, and experienced Colombian pilots, with a preference given to members of the Colombian National Police.

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