The human rights situation in Colombia

Session 28Human Rights Council

Theme 2, Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Colombia, (A/HRC/28/3 Add.3, Jaunuary 23, 2015)
Joint oral statement of the CETIM and OIDHACO

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Mr President:

CETIM and OIDHACO, welcome the presentation of the High Comissioner’s report and highlight the importance of the Office in Colombia with its current mandate.

We share concerns about legislative reforms which, as highlighted in the report, “would extend military jurisdiction to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including those already under investigation by ordinary justice”1.

It is noteworthy that the Colombian State’s capacity for investigation and justice seems to be aimed more at persecuting human rights defenders than finding those who attack them. The High Commissioner considers that “claims that activists have links with insurgency are often given more attention and resources than cases in which they are victims”2 and that “criminal investigations of community leaders for their alleged connection with armed groups, despite insufficient grounds for prosecution, were recurrent”3. Meanwhile, “the High Commissioner is concerned by the lack of results of criminal investigations into violations against defenders, in particular threats”4. We believe that those who fight for human rights are fundamental to building peace and that the Colombian State must provide them with guarantees. It is alarming that the OHCHR reports 45 killings of defenders between January and October 2014 and 18 attempted murders during the year5.

The observations of the High Commissioner in relation to inequality are extremely important. We share the opinion that “until these inequalities are addressed, human rights challenges will continue to plague Colombia”6 and that “economic growth and resource exploitation can have negative impacts, such as water scarcity, cultural decay, social conflict and environmental damage”7. It is extremely worrying that the right of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities to prior consultation “is still widely ignored”8.

We regret that there is little mention by the High Commissioner of the persistent crime of enforced disappearance (126 cases in 2014 according to official figures9), and violence against women.

We believe that the Human Rights Council should support the Office of the High Commissioner in Colombia and its work monitoring the situation of Human Rights.

Thank you, Mr President.

1. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Colombia, (A/HRC/28/3 Add.3, Jaunuary 23, 2015)
2. Ibid, paragraph 40
3. Ibid, paragraph 54
4. Ibid, paragraph 70
5. Ibid, paragraph 66
6. Ibid, paragraph 17
7. Ibid
8. Ibid, paragraph 26
9. Registro Nacional de Desaparecidos; según Informe alterno al Comité sobre Desapariciones Forzadas de Naciones Unidas Febrero de 2015 presentado por la Fundación Nydia Erika Bautista para los Derechos Humanos

Categories Economic, Social and Cultural Rights HUMAN RIGHTS Statements
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