IACHR Issues Preliminary Observations of On-Site Visit to Colombia

June 19, 2024

preliminary observations

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued the preliminary observations of an on-site visit to Colombia it conducted over the period April 15–19, 2024.. This visit sought to assess the situation of human rights in the country, particularly concerning citizen security, the differentiated impact of violence, and the implementation of Colombia's Peace Agreement.

In these preliminary observations, the Commission stresses that extreme inequality and structural discrimination are both linked to the armed conflict and to the various manifestations of violence. The IACHR also notes the implementation of the Peace Agreement and stresses the Commission's support for all State policies aimed at attaining peace based on participatory dialogue and respect for human rights. The Commission notes the need to strengthen effective platforms for participation in order to reach the political and social consensus needed to take measures that comprehensively address human rights violations.

During its five-day visit, the IACHR went to Bogotá and to the departments of Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó, La Guajira, Magdalena, Nariño, Putumayo, and Valle del Cauca. The delegation held 50 meetings with authorities of various branches of government and 45 meetings with indigenous peoples; Afro-descendant and peasant communities; rights defenders and social and community leaders; organizations linked to the rights of women, LGBTI persons, victims of forced displacement and other forms of human mobility, children and adolescents, individuals who are deprived of liberty, and relatives of police and military officers who were victims of armed conflict; and organizations linked to the fight for memory and to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and of the Truth Commission's recommendations. The IACHR delegation also met with trade unions and other professional organizations and with representatives of academia and of international organizations.

Further, the delegation observed the situation of human rights in the Riohacha prison and in the La Modelo and Buen Pastor prisons in Bogotá; the Pondores Territorial Training and Reintegration Space (ETCR) in Fonseca; the Puente Nayero Humanitarian Space in Buenaventura; the Agua Blanca District in Cali; and the Necoclí pier in the Darién region.

The information collected from all these activities was assessed to draft these preliminary observations, which were then sent to the State of Colombia for comment. The State submitted abundant information that was systematically collected and later analyzed and integrated into the relevant portions of this document.

The IACHR acknowledges and appreciates the openness of the Colombian State to international scrutiny, which led to its consent for the visit and enabled talks at the highest level. The IACHR also thanks civil society, victims of human rights violations, and all other individuals who submitted valuable information. The Commission further appreciates the support it received from the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), the Colombian branches of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Ombudsperson's Office, and the educational institution Universidad Externado de Colombia.

The delegation for this in loco visit was led by the IACHR's President, Commissioner Roberta Clarke; Second Vice-President José Luis Caballero (the IACHR's country Rapporteur for Colombia); Commissioners Stuardo Ralón, Arif Bulkan, Andrea Pochak, and Gloria De Mees; and IACHR Executive Secretary Tania Reneaum Panszi, Assistant Executive Secretary María Claudia Pulido, Executive Secretariat Chief of Staff Patricia Colchero, and experts from the Commission's Executive Secretariat. The delegation also included the IACHR's Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Pedro Vaca and its Special Rapporteur for Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights Javier Palummo.

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. 143/24

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