.- The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda, said the release by the rebel group FARC of two female hostages (Carla Rojas and Consuelo González) is due to the “moral obligation to return them because their release is not a favor, it is a demand of human rights.”
Speaking to CNA, the Colombian bishop explained that the news “has caused great joy, great emotion. We see a window opening for the release of all the kidnapped,” he said. This fact “is very important because it shows how the release of the kidnapped is possible on the basis of good will,” he added.
Bishop Marulanda emphasized the need to maintain “hope that the release of all the kidnapped can happen provided that the FARC listen to the cries of the Colombian people, of other friendly governments and of the entire world, because I believe that at this point in life there can’t be anyone in the world who values kidnapping and approves of it. So the FARC must realize that they gain nothing by going down this road,” he said.
The bishop went on to stress that the Church’s efforts to get the kidnapped released are motivated purely by humanitarian reasons. “The participation by the Church is not because the government has requested it, but because it is part of her mission. The mission of the Church is to work for reconciliation, to help all Colombians to live together in peace,” he said.
Currently the FARC is holding some 4,000 people hostage, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, as well as other politicians, police officers and foreigners. The Marxist group’s strategy is to “exchange” the kidnapped for some of its own members who are in prison.