PBI-Canada awaits Global Affairs response to CIDH-IACHR report on human rights in Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

PBI-Colombia with the CIDH-IACHR at Portal Resistencia in Bogota, June 10.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH-IACHR) has released their report following its working visit to Colombia on June 8 to 10.

Their visit was to report on the human rights situation during the national strike (#ParoNacional) which began on April 28.

On July 7, Reuters reported: “Colombia’s government must hold genuine dialogue with civil society and ensure punishment for security force members who have committed abuses, after violence at weeks of antigovernment protests led to at least 27 deaths, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) said on Wednesday.”

That article adds: “The CIDH, an autonomous arm of the Organization of American States, presented 41 recommendations based on a June visit to the Andean country.”

Those 41 recommendations can be read in their report here.

CIDH President Antonia Urrejola told journalists: “The commission confirmed that, repeatedly and in various regions of the country, the response of the state was characterized by excessive and disproportionate use of force.”

El Espectador also reports: “Some of the most important issues on which the IACHR pronounced on Wednesday are the right to protest, the disproportionate use of force, sexual and gender-based violence, the ethno-racial approach, the use of the figure of transfer of protection, disappearance of persons, military assistance, the application of military criminal jurisdiction, the protection of journalists, and access to the Internet.”

The right to blockades

El Espectador adds: “The agency warned that it is a mistake to generically characterize the blockades as illegal conduct and recalled that the State must tolerate that the demonstrations generate a certain level of disruption of daily life, for example, in relation to traffic and commercial activities.”

La FM also noted: “Regarding the protests, the CIDH reiterated that protest is a right protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, which includes blockades as a form of demonstration. For this reason, it states that blockades cannot be prohibited a priori or in a generalized way and that their interventions must not affect the integrity and lives of demonstrators.”

Canada’s response

There has been no official response yet from the Canadian Embassy in Colombia.

On October 30, 2017, Canada and Colombia launched a “bilateral police initiative” with Canadian police providing training, capacity building and strategic advice to the Colombian police. In 2014-15, Canada also approved the sale of Toronto-area manufactured armoured vehicles to the Colombian police.

On May 9, Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau condemned the disproportionate use of force by Colombian police while at the same time calling on those responsible for road blockades to allow the free passage of goods and services.

We look forward to Canada’s response to the CIDH-IACHR report.

CIDH-IACHR President Antonia Urrejola speaks at the media conference that released the report. The full media conference can be seen here.

Categories: News Updates


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