MIAMI, Florida (September 27, 2019)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed its satisfaction at a new step against the impunity and violence that affects journalists, on announcing an act of reparation that will be held on Monday in the Colombian city of Cali.
On September 30 there will be held a Public Act of Recognition of Responsibility and Request for Pardon in favor of members of the family of Gerardo Bedoya Borrero murdered on March 21, 1997 when he was working as editor of the op-ed section of that city's newspaper, El País.
"As representative of the IAPA it is doubly satisfying that the family has some peace, but also for the journalists of the newspaper that Gerardo Bedoya headed, where he left a special mark in a difficult period for Cali," declared María Elvira Domínguez, editor of the Cali newspaper El País and president of the IAPA.
The act is the culmination of several years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the IAPA within the framework of the Inter-American Human Rights System. The IAPA and the government on August 16 this year signed an amicable agreement. This agreement implies that the government recognizes its responsibility, adopts measures of moral and economic reparation for the victims and commits to its obligation to investigate, judge and punish those responsible for the murder.
In the act the Bedoya family will be represented by the victim's sisters, Clara Bedoya Borrero and Ana Lía Bedoya de Ramírez. The government by Francisco Barbosa, Colombian presidential Human Rights advisor; Dilian Francisca Toro, Governor of Valle del Cauca Department and officers Ana María Ordoñez and Juan José Quintana. For its part the IAPA will be present with its president, María Elvira Domínguez, and Roberto Pombo, editor of the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo and chairman of the IAPA's Chapultepec Committee.
The act will take place at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the La Tertulia Museum film archive in Cali, Valle del Cauca.
The IAPA investigated Bedoya's murder 20 years ago and submitted its findings on September 23, 1999 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which assigned it case number 12,909. In his columns Bedoya used to openly denounce drug trafficking, criticize its infiltration into the political class and support the extradition of drug traffickers to the United States.
The amicable agreement says, among other measures, that the government of Valle del Cauca will give the name of Gerardo Bedoya Borrero to the Jamundi-Robles-Timba highway. Also, under the victim's name the government will grant study scholarships for pre-degree students of the Social Communication program at the University del Valle and will create the Gerardo Bedoya Borrero Honorary Award to be granted annually.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.