UN and IACHR Special Rapporteurs send letter of concern to Colombian government about illegal military surveillance of defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On June 17, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted: “Four Special Rapporteurs of #ONU and #CIDH send official communication to the Government of Colombia for illegal military surveillance against defenders and journalists, NGOs accompanied by PBI @Justiciaypazcol and @ccajar have been victims.”

In that tweet, PBI-Colombia shared this tweet from the IAHCR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Edison Lanza that states: “In conjunction with rapporteurs from @UN_SPExperts @davidakaye @AgnesCallamard #FabianSalvioli and #MaryLawlor we sent a letter to #Colombia on the illegal surveillance of journalists, defenders and legislators.”

A quick guide to some of these acronyms and names:

ONU = The United Nations.

CIDH/IACHR = The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States.

@Justiciaypazcol = The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, a human rights organization in Colombia accompanied by PBI since 1994.

@ccajar = The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation (CCAJAR), a non-governmental organization accompanied by PBI since 1995.

@UN_SPExperts = The Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council are human rights experts independent from any government or organization.

@davidakaye = The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

@AgnesCallamard = The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

#FabianSalvioli = The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

#MaryLawlor = The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.


On May 1, the Colombian weekly newsmagazine Semana reported: “Between February and the first days of December last year, the activities of more than 130 citizens were the target of what the military called ‘profiles’ and ‘special jobs.”

“In these missions, using computer tools and software, they carried out searches and massively and indiscriminately collected as much information as possible about their objectives to prepare military intelligence reports.”

“Phones, residence and work addresses, emails, friends, family, children, colleagues, contacts, traffic violations and even polling places are part of these profiles.”

Peace Brigades International entities around the world, including in Canada, continue to follow this situation very closely.

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