“The appalling repression witnessed by the IACHR in Colombia puts Canada at a crossroads”: Celis and Campbell-Duruflé

Published by Brent Patterson on

Share This Page

PBI-Colombia with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during their visit to Portal Resistencia in Bogota on June 10.

On July 14, The Conversation published an article by Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Sociology Professor Leila Celis and University of Toronto Faculty of Law Doctoral Candidate Christopher Campbell-Duruflé titled: With international pressure mounting on the Colombian government, Canada stands at a crossroads.

In that article, Celis and Campbell-Duruflé highlight that Colombian president Iván Duque Márquez has rejected the recommendations in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report on Colombia.

The 41 recommendations from the IACHR can be found here.

In short, IACHR 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.”

Celis and Campbell-Duruflé comment:

“The appalling repression witnessed by the IACHR puts Canada at a crossroads. Further silence after our government’s May 9 statement on the situation risks condoning the relentless crackdown. Supporting the IACHR’s recommendations would clarify that Canada’s foreign policy in Colombia prioritizes peace and human rights.”

“In comparison with Canada’s tepid stance, members of the United States Congress have called for the suspension of assistance to the Colombian police as well as of the sale of weapons to the ESMAD. Italian lawmakers have requested the International Criminal Court to open an investigation.”

“As researchers dedicated to the study of human rights and with a particular interest in Colombia, we identify three priority avenues for action.”

1- “Canada should publicly support the IACHR’s recommendations to Colombia and the efforts of its monitoring mechanism. Canada should publicly warn the Duque administration that the continuation of normal relations is conditional upon accepting the recommendations.”

2- “Canada should ensure that any future co-operation with the Colombian police or military and any future equipment sale is conditional upon decisive changes, such as dismantling the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron, removing the police from the Defence Ministry’s authority and ensuring that police officers are tried before civilian courts.”

3- “Canada should address the shortcomings of its Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise and provide local communities an effective remedy in Canada against Canadian corporations whose actions compromise human rights.”

The article by Celis and Campbell-Duruflé further notes:

“At least three sales of armoured vehicles by Canadian companies to the Colombian government have taken place over the last decade.” In making that point, it refers to this PBI-Canada article: Canada should conduct a human rights review of the military goods it has exported to the Colombian police and army.

The full article by Celis and Campbell-Duruflé can be read here.

The same day that their article was published, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau met with Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucía Ramírez. Garneau tweeted: “I had an excellent conversation with my Colombian counterpart, @mluciaramirez. We discussed the Canada-Colombia relationship, the crisis in #Venezuela and our shared commitment to peace, democracy & human rights.”

Minister Garneau’s tweet, as Celis and Campbell-Duruflé forewarned, “risks condoning the relentless crackdown.”

That letter can be read at: Canadian academics sign a letter urging the Government of Canada to take action on human rights violations in Colombia.

Share This Page
Categories: News Updates


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *