Press Release

IACHR Invites People to Share Information on the Human Rights Situation of Defenders and Social Leaders in Colombia

May 2, 2019

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Washington, DC—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is inviting civil society organizations and other interested parties to send it information on the human rights situation of defenders and social leaders in Colombia. This information will be used to draft a thematic report that will analyze the current predicament of defenders and social leaders following the signing of the Peace Agreements, especially those who are most at risk, and the obstacles they face in carrying out their work. The report will also include recommendations to the state of Colombia.

The IACHR has repeatedly expressed its concern over the violence faced by human rights defenders and social leaders in Colombia. It conducted a working visit to Colombia between November 27 and 30, 2018, to ascertain and observe the current situation of human rights defenders in the country. In its observations on the visit, the IACHR indicated that the Colombian state should prioritize measures to strengthen its systems for protecting defenders and social leaders and preventing violence against them, while also making headway on investigations into any crimes against them.

In this context, the IACHR invites civil society, human rights defenders, academic organizations, institutions, and other interested parties to put forward any information they may have on the following issues:

1. Progress and setbacks in connection with the struggle against impunity around cases involving human rights defenders and social leaders in Colombia. Specifically, detailed information on the status of investigations and any challenges that have been identified.

2. Information on attacks against human rights defenders (including threats, killings, criminalization, slander or libel, etc.). Disaggregate data by type of attack, what the focus of the defender in question’s work is, their gender, the geographic area, and any possible perpetrators.

3. Progress and setbacks in connection with the process of promoting and developing a comprehensive public policy to prevent violence against and protect human rights defenders.

4. Challenges that have been identified in connection with risk assessment and the implementation of protective measures on the part of the National Protection Unit (UNP). In particular, challenges to applying a gender, ethnic, and collective approach.

5. Agreements reached and measures taken by the National Guarantees Table and the National Security Guarantees Commission. Measures to strengthen these existing initiatives.

Any such information can be sent to the IACHR from today until midnight on May 21, 2019 (Washington, DC, time), by email: cidhdefensores@oas.org . Information can be sent in Spanish, English, French and/or Portuguese. Any information submitted must be concise, objective, include verifiable sources, and relate to events that took place in the last three years.  

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. 110/19