Visit to Colombia (May 14-18, 2007)
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination carried out a visit to Colombia on May 14-18, 2007. The purpose of the visit was to verify the situation of Afro-Colombian individuals and communities, hold meetings with Colombian State authorities and nongovernmental organizations involved with this issue, and conduct activities to promote the inter-American human rights system. At the end of the visit, the IACHR issued Press Release 54/08 and later prepared and published a report, available in Spanish only: Informe sobre la visita al terreno en relación con las Medidas Provisionales ordenadas a favor de los miembros de las Comunidades constituidas por el Consejo Comunitario del Jiguamiandó y las familias del Curbaradó, Municipio de Carmen del Darién, Departamento del Chocó.
Visit to Brazil (June 30-July 7, 2005)
The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination conducted a promotional visit to the Federative Republic of Brazil from June 30 to July 7, 2005. Activities were held in the Brazilian capital, Brasília, as well as Salvador (Bahía) and São Paulo. During the court of the visit, the Special Rapporteur participated in the First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality and met with authorities and with various segments of civil society, particularly with the Brazilian Black Social Movement.
Visit to an Afro-Descendant Community on the Banks of the Cacarica River, in Northern Chocó, Colombia (June 2003)
In June 2003, before the creation of the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants, an IACHR delegation traveled to the banks of the Cacarica River, in the north of the department of Chocó, to visit the "New Life" ("Nueva Vida") residential and working community, whose members had been under the protection of precautionary measures since December 1997. Press Release 15/03, issued at the end of the visit, indicated the following: "This community of African descent is resettled on collectively deeded lands, after several years of displacement initially resulting from a 1996 bombing in the Riosucio area. During its stay, the delegation received information and statements on murders, torture, and acts of violence and intimidation perpetrated against members of the community by paramilitary groups operating in the area despite the presence of the XVII Army Brigade. In addition, representatives of the communities in Dabeiba and Naya, also protected by precautionary measures, and Jugiamiandó and Curbaradó, protected by provisional measures granted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, appeared during the Commission’s visit to report on their situation.
"The IACHR Rapporteur noted with concern consistent reports of attacks by paramilitary groups, allegedly carried out with the acquiescence and collaboration of law enforcement personnel operating in the region. It also received information on the deforestation of the collective lands and on acts of harassment intended to force some of these communities to accept the planting of African palm—a classic prelude to the introduction of illicit crops. He also emphasized the vital importance of the follow-up tasks carried out by Peace Brigades International in support of the communities of African descent in Chocó and their positive effect on the protection of these communities," the press release added.