PBI-Canada Board member Heather Neun participates in VII International Caravan of Jurists in Colombia
On August 21, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) posted:
“From August 20 to 28, 2022, 18 international jurists, human rights experts from eleven countries will be in Colombia for an intense week to undertake a fact-finding mission and advocate for the protection of lawyers, human rights defenders and their communities, to guarantee access to justice and truth.
Colombian Caravana, a British non-profit civil organization, has been organizing these Caravans biannually since 2008 together with groups of lawyers from Colombia and international organizations such as the Observatoire Internationale des Avocats en Danger OIAD … Lawyers Rights Watch and Peace Brigades International Canada and Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.
This will be the VII International Caravan of Jurists. Previous visits have made it possible to make visible the risks of the work of lawyers and defenders in Colombia, in the defense and accompaniment of communities that fight for social, environmental, racial, gender justice and for peace.
In addition, as a result of the International Caravans of Jurists, a Report is prepared with the documented facts and recommendations to the Colombian State and the international community. You can find the reports of previous Caravans here.
The delegation is taking place in the midst of a situation marked by breaches of the Final Peace Agreement that have left as a legacy a humanitarian crisis reflected in hundreds of murders against social leaders and ex-combatants since the signing of the Agreement in November 2016, the intensification of massacres and forced displacement in indigenous territories, Afro-Colombians and rural people, with the persistence of the armed conflict, as well as the criminalization of the right to protest during and after the social outbreak of 2021.
It also coincides with the fourth year of operation of the Special Justice for Peace, JEP – where human rights lawyers face risks in their work representing victims – and the recent presentation of the report of the Truth Commission that includes recommendations for the justice system that will be a frame of reference for the Caravan.
The VII International Caravan of Jurists will travel to four regions (Bolívar, Norte de Santander, Santander, Valle del Cauca) to meet with victims, lawyers, judges and many others to learn first-hand about the current situation, particularly in relation to the rule of law and justice.
The delegation will also hold meetings with regional and national authorities with representatives of the new government to discuss challenges and share concerns regarding the safety of human rights lawyers.
In addition, the group will seek dialogue with the diplomatic community to understand international strategies and initiatives for peace, justice and the protection of human rights lawyers.
To present the preliminary report of the Caravan, a press conference will be held in downtown Bogotá at 10am, on Friday, August 26 to present the initial findings.”
The full media release can be read at Juristas internacionales verifican situación de la abogacía y la defensa de derechos humanos en Colombia.