PBI-Colombia accompanied CAJAR lawyers’ collective welcomes Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling on systemic persecution

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Yessika Hoyos and Danilo Rueda in Bogota yesterday.

PBI-Colombia has posted on Twitter: “After years of systematic persecution and complaints, the @CorteIDH condemns the Colombian State in a historic sentence. We applaud the courage and commitment of all the members of @Ccajar and we deeply regret all the violence against them.”

El Pais further explains: “The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) on Monday condemned Colombia for the persecution since the 1990s of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR), an organization that denounced human rights violations committed by state agents.”

“The tribunal of the Organization of American States (OAS) has established that several state entities carried out intelligence activities against the members of CAJAR and delivered that information to paramilitary groups that then threatened the human rights defenders. ‘The State created a situation of risk to the life and personal integrity of the victims,’ the court said.”

“Reinaldo Villalba points out that the collective has evidenced the abuses of the State in several cases. ‘We showed that paramilitarism was a strategy of the state to impose political and economic models and to hide its direct responsibility for massacres, forced displacements, murders and other serious human rights violations,’ he stresses.”

“Villalba sees the ruling as ‘a tool that will extend its effects to the entire continent.’ ‘The persecution of human rights defenders is a widespread issue in Latin America. The national security doctrines [of the 1960s and 1970s] have established that those who denounce the crimes of power are internal enemies,’ he says.”

The article also highlights: “Currently, threats persist that remain unpunished: the current president of the collective, Yessika Hoyos, received several in recent years for her work with victims of the Mondoñedo massacre (1996).

The full article can be read at: La Corte Interamericana condena a Colombia por la persecución al Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (El Pais).

The full 397-page court ruling has been published by El Espectador here.

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR) since 1995.


Photo: On July 5, 2022, PBI-Canada met with CAJAR lawyer Rosa Maria Mateus at the CAJAR office in Bogota.

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