UN Chief Follows Protests In Colombia With 'Serious Concern,' Urges Restraint - Spokesman

UN Chief Follows Protests in Colombia With 'Serious Concern,' Urges Restraint - Spokesman

UNITED NATIONS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 05th May, 2021) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about the violence amid ongoing protests in Colombia and is urging the authorities to exercise restraint, United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

"The Secretary-General is following the situation in Colombia with serious concern, including the violence we have seen, the reported violations of human rights within the context of these of the protests," Dujarric said. "It's very important that the Colombian authorities exercise restraint, ensure full respect for human rights."

Guterres also called on all actors to refrain from violence and vandalism and urgently pursue a peaceful solution to the challenges facing the country, according to Dujarric.

"Only through a peaceful and inclusive dialogue, can you avoid violence, can you avoid the violation of human rights," the spokesman said.

Residents of the Colombian city of Cali have been protesting since Wednesday against an increase in gas prices and utility bills as part of a state-proposed tax reform. President Ivan Duque called the reform off on Sunday, but protesters have continued to rally.

On Tuesday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it was deeply alarmed by police firing at protesters and expressed its "profound shock" over multiple casualties. The UN agency has been notified of at least 14 deaths, including one officer, since the start of the protests, "the majority" of which have been peaceful so far, according to the statement.