Press Release

IACHR to Conduct an Onsite Visit to Colombia

November 21, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will carry out an onsite visit to Colombia December 3-7, 2012, in response to an invitation from the State of Colombia. This will be the Commission's first onsite visit to Colombia since 2004.

The Commission will observe the human rights situation in Colombia, and since this is an onsite visit, it will evaluate the entire agenda of human rights issues in the country. The Inter-American Commission will interview government authorities, including the three branches of the State, and will meet with representatives of different sectors of civil society, in Bogotá as well as in other parts of the country, to learn about progress and challenges in the area of human rights.

The delegation that will visit Colombia will include the Chair of the IACHR, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez; its First Vice-Chair, Tracy Robinson; its Second Vice-Chair, Felipe González; and Commissioners Rosa María Ortiz and Rose-Marie Antoine, as well as IACHR Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza L. and staff of the Executive Secretariat.

The IACHR takes special note of the invitation by the government of President Juan Manuel Santos as a sign of his government's willingness to cooperate with the Inter-American Commission in the fulfillment of its duties to monitor the human rights situation in the region. The Colombian government's willingness to open the door to a visit by the Commission implies that it is willing to submit to international scrutiny, in reflection of its commitment to comply with the State's international human rights obligations. This invitation is also a sign of receptivity on the part of the Government to the interest expressed repeatedly by Colombian civil society in a visit to the country by the IACHR.

The IACHR also takes note of the efforts made by civil society organizations to participate in IACHR hearings and other mechanisms in order to provide information about the human rights situation in Colombia. This information will be taken into consideration in the preparations for this visit.

The Commission appreciates the cooperation and facilities provided by the government of Colombia and by civil society organizations in the planning and preparations for this visit.

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 human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. 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. 137/12