Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

UN Colombia/Bibiana Moreno Mural, which reads “Reconciliation with the victims”, symbolizes the cultural manifestation of reintegrating ex-members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Caquetá, Colombia.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Alarmed by the “strikingly high number” of human rights defenders being killed, harassed and threatened in Colombia, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) in the country on Friday, called on authorities to “make a significant effort” to “tackle the endemic impunity” surrounding these cases.

OHCHR described the dozens of deaths since the beginning of the year as a “terrible trend” that seems to be worsening.

Spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva that the rights office in Colombia is “closely following up on the allegations” reported by civil society, State institutions and the national human rights institution, that in the first four months of 2019 recorded a total of 51 human rights defenders and activists have been allegedly killed.

“This staggering number continues a negative trend that intensified during 2018, when our staff documented the killings of 115 human rights defenders”, he said.

‘Address disparities’

The violations are occurring against a backdrop of stigmatized rights defenders, especially those living in rural areas, which lack basic social services and have high levels of poverty and illegally-armed and criminal groups.

“There is an urgent need to address disparities in the enjoyment of all rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and especially in rural areas”, Mr. Colville stressed.

A wide range of activists have been targeted, including community leaders, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, environmentalists, journalists and women’s rights defenders, some involved in local politics.

“Community leaders are particularly vulnerable and account for more than 70 per cent of all recorded killings”, the OHCHR spokesperson explained, adding that some were targeted because they supported aspects of the historic 2016 Colombian peace agreement, including land restitution and victims’ rights.

Mr. Colville went on to express concern that, with local elections in October,” the number of violent attacks may increase even further”.

While acknowledging the steps taken by the State to better protect rights defenders, such as the President’s recent announcement to appoint specialized judges in the field, Mr. Colville called on the authorities “to redouble their efforts to expand and strengthen efforts to safeguard a free and secure environment for civic engagement”.

“Despite some positive actions by the Office of the Attorney-General, we urge the State to make sure all killings, attacks and threats are properly investigated and the perpetrators – including those directing them, as well as those carrying them out – are brought to justice”, he asserted.

UN heavily invested in lasting peace

After decades of civil war, in 2016, rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a landmark peace deal with the Government. Joining them as part of a trilateral mechanism to verify and monitor the cessation of hostilities and surrender of weapons, with the unanimous approval of the Security Council, the UN opened a political mission there on 25 January 2016.

By that October, the mission had verified the destruction of 620 kilogrammes of munitions and explosives held by the FARC.

On 26 September 2017, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia was established to verify the commitments of the Government and former FARC rebels on reintegrating them back into society, and on ensuring security in territories most affected by the decades-long conflict.

This past January, Special Representative Ruiz Massieu updated the Security Council on the situation in the country, noting the “important milestone” of the May 2018 inauguration of  a ‘Truth Commission’ to examine past human rights violations, including sexual violence.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU Parliament: The surplus countries must support growth

The world is too complacent about epidemics. Here’s how to change

3 vital steps to a new gender equality playbook

From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

ECB to play down IMF’s alarms for deflation danger in the EU

Colombia: Santos thanks the EU for its support to the peace process

As Saudi women take the wheel, UN chief hopes end of driving ban creates more opportunities for kingdom’s women and girls

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

Here’s what keeps CEOs awake at night (and why it might be bad news for your next job)

Free trade agreement between EU and India?

EU unveils plan to accelerate Capital Markets Union ahead of London’s departure from the bloc

The developing countries keep the world going

Safe drinking water, sanitation, are ‘basic human rights’: new UN Water Development report

Parliament wants to suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth, Change Now Patiently

Rise in number of children killed, maimed and recruited in conflict: UN report

How to tap the talents of refugees – one student at a time

Four ways innovation can help to beat heart disease

Brazil’s hopeless future of science

Feeding families remains complex task in war-torn Syria – UN relief agency

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

The global issue of migration in 2017

What can the private sector do to alleviate the refugee crisis?

Brexit update: Will Theresa May’s last-minute desperate efforts procrastinate Brexit?

Obese people more likely to smoke, says new gene research: WHO

This Dutch company has devised an innovative way to deal with food waste

UN chief welcomes prisoner exchange between the Russia and Ukraine

UN emergency relief fund has ‘never been more critical’: Guterres

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

How to beat gender stereotypes: learn, speak up and react

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

Depression is the no. 1 cause of ill health and disability worldwide

Multilateralism must weather ‘challenges of today and tomorrow’ Guterres tells Paris Peace Forum

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

“For my children Italy will be an innovation lab and not a museum”; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Four years on and half a billion dollars later – Tax Inspectors Without Borders

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

Gender Equality Index 2019: Still far from the finish line

Mergers: Commission approves Varta AG’s acquisition of Energizer’s divestment business, subject to conditions

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining the economy as we know it

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

No barriers to free flow of non-personal data in the EU

Trump beats Clinton but Americans will learn the hard way that the US can’t change with an election

More beehives and beekeepers thanks to EU support

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

This is where people work the longest – and shortest – hours

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

How to get ageing populations to invest in their health

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Top UN court rules it has jurisdiction to hear Iranian claim against US over frozen assets

Netherlands: Budget MEPs back €1.2m in job-search aid for 450 redundant workers

Crop yields are up in Syria, but higher prices still cause major strain: new UN report

Factories are no longer the sure route to prosperity. Here’s why

Spending another 3 billion euros on Turkey feels better than admitting EU’s failure

Canada leading the way on women’s inclusion and empowerment, says OECD

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s