Press Release

IACHR Requests Authorization to Conduct a Working Visit to Colombia in the Wake of Alleged Human Rights Violations during Social Protests

May 14, 2021

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has asked to conduct a working visit to Colombia, to observe on site the situation of human rights in the context of the social protests that have been ongoing in the country since April 28. The Commission awaits a swift response to this request and trusts the State to comply with its commitment to safeguard the highest human rights standards.

Given its mandate to permanently monitor the situation of human rights in Colombia, the IACHR has received many complaints alleging human rights violations linked to an excessive use of force during recent social protests. The reports the Commission has received mention, among others, that several people have been killed or gone missing, that demonstrators have been subjected to sexual violence, torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, that rights defenders have suffered abuse, and that indigenous persons have been attacked. Similarly, the IACHR has been informed of violence and acts of vandalism targeting police officers and State property.

In recent weeks, the Inter-American Commission has received thousands of requests that it conduct an observation visit to monitor and respond to the current situation of human rights in Colombia, from representatives of civil society, social movements, student movements, academics, legal experts, and political representatives, among other stakeholders. During a potential visit, the IACHR would aim to meet with State authorities, with broad sectors of civil society, with victims of rights violations, and with other relevant actors.

The Inter-American Commission reminds the State of Colombia of the IACHR’s willingness to help the country overcome this crisis. The Commission stresses its unrelenting commitment to assist victims of human rights violations in Colombia.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 125/21