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Last Updated:9/6/00
Sen. Patrick Leahy, press release, August 28, 2000

Press Release of Pat Leahy

Reaction Of Sen. Patrick Leahy
To The President's Human Rights Waiver
For The Colombia Aid Package
Monday, August 28, 2000

[Following are the comments of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on the President's waiver of human rights conditions for release of $1.3 billion in drug war aid to Colombia. Leahy, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Foreign Operations (which has jurisdiction over the aid package), included several human rights requirements in the Plan Colombia legislation, working with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and others. The Senate approved the Leahy-Kennedy human rights conditions in its version of the bill; the waiver authority was added in House-Senate conference.]


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The Administration has put us in a Catch-22 position. They, along with the Colombian government, promised real reforms to protect human rights in order to get more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funds. Then when they get the money, they say they cannot meet the conditions. There will be tough questions when they come back to Congress this fall for the next installment.

Our conditions do not require perfection on human rights. But at least we need to see consistent compliance with the conditions, and they are not even close to that.

There is no need or justification for waiving the conditions. These conditions are nothing more than what the Colombian government and our administration said they would do, and this is not too much to ask, considering the risks and the amount of money involved. Even the strongest congressional proponents of this aid package agreed that these standards are important. I know the Administration wishes they could make the certification, but they know they cannot. To their credit, they did not merely certify and pretend the human rights conditions were met.


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As of September 6, 2000, this document was also available online at http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200008/000828.html

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