PBI-Switzerland comments on United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report on Colombia
On March 4, Peace Brigades International-Switzerland Advocacy Coordinator Kim-Mai Vu presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the report made by UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst on his November 20-December 3, 2018 visit to Colombia.
Kim-Mai’s formal presentation noted:
PBI and WILPF [Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom] salute, thank and support the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of defenders, Michel Forst on his visit to Colombia, and we trust the prompt implementation by the Colombian State of his recommendations, as well as a genuine opening and collaboration with the United Nations System and with organized civil society, among others through a follow-up visit to the mandate.
We express high concern about the systematic violations against defenders and highlight the escalation of murders of women defenders, which according to OHCHR, increased by about 50% in 2019, compared to 2018. As well as those who are committed to the comprehensive implementation of the Peace Agreement and the defense of the land and the environment.
We call attention to humanitarian crises in different parts of the country; among them Urabá and Valle del Cauca, where ethnic and mestizo communities that contribute to the construction of memory and truth, are victims of threats and serious and multiple aggressions.
We are concerned about the news of illegal intelligence actions, carried out from military installations (among others), against defenders, groups of lawyers and magistrates of the high courts.
We insist on the importance of:
-address the structural causes of human rights violations and attacks on defenders,
-strengthen the mechanisms of the Peace Agreement that, if implemented in a comprehensive manner, would contribute to generating guarantees for defenders such as those provided for the effective dismantling of structures inheriting from paramilitaries (such as the National Security Guarantees Commission and the Special Unit research)
-implement the Comprehensive Guarantees Program for Women Leaders and Advocates urgently and in all territories
-clarify the possible persistence of links between illegal armed groups and political, economic and military sectors.
-strengthen politically and economically the UNP and collective prevention and protection measures (Decree 660 of 2018)
-finalize the Comprehensive Protection Public Policy for social leaders and human rights defenders, based on the protection mechanisms established in the Agreement and with full participation of civil society.
The video of Kim-Mai’s presentation can be seen here (item 49, starting at the 01:17:15 mark).