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Colombia

    April 13, 2018

    Following the killing of Doris Valenzuela, Colombian human rights defender, in Murcia, Spain, on 11 April, Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is with great sadness that we received the terrible news of the death of the brave human rights defender Doris Valenzuela, who was forced to leave Colombia due to a lack of guarantees for her and her family’s safety, and who sadly died in Spain as a result of gender-based violence.

    “It is unacceptable that women defenders continue to suffer double violence: for being activists and for being women, with that violence often coming from those closest to them. It is imperative that the Colombian state guarantee effective protection of women human rights defenders through differentiated measures with a gender perspective, so that cases like that of Doris do not happen again.”

    March 23, 2018

    In an open letter to Cheryl Urban, Director General of the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau at Global Affairs Canada, Amnesty International Canada notified the Department it will no longer make submissions to the annual report on Human Rights and Free Trade between Canada and Colombia.

    The organization cited serious concerns with the Department’s methodology which fundamentally undermines the credibility of the process, including by failing to assess some of the most significant trade-related human rights concerns in Colombia. Instead, “the Government of Canada chooses to interpret its human rights reporting responsibilities in a limited and restrictive manner that ignores and overlooks pressing human rights concerns directly related to critical trade, investment and business policy and activities that are encouraged, promoted and furthered by the [Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement],” the Open Letter reads.

    March 20, 2018

    Amnesty International condemns the murder of Javier Bernardo Cuero Ortíz, son of Bernardo Cuero Bravo, on 19 March 2018 in the city of Tumaco, southern Colombia. His brother Silvio Dubán Ortíz was also killed during the events.

    Javier Bernardo and his family were sitting outside of a relative's store, when two unidentified individuals approached them on a motorcycle and fired directly at them, killing them both and wounding one more person. Amnesty International has received reports that the murderers aimed directly at Cuero's relatives, a sign that it was a planned event and that the rest of the family could still be at risk.

    The murder of Javier Bernardo took place just nine months after the murder of his father Bernardo Cuero, human rights defender and victims’ leader of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) in June 2017. The murders occurred just weeks after the trial hearing set to press charges against the perpetrators of the crime, and there is evidence regarding the intellectual perpetrators of this crime.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 01, 2018
    Urgent Action - Image of rural community in Colombia

    Download PDF of UA 22/18 Colombia

    22 Colombia.pdf

    While carrying out operations against the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Colombian security forces bombed near the Wounaan Indigenous reservation of Chagpien Tordó, in the municipality of Litoral de San Juán in Chocó, injuring a minor. Nearby communities are currently forcibly displaced as fear of new operations threaten the population.

    January 29, 2018

     

    The territorial control strategy advanced by the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) in territories previously controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias Armadas de Colombia, FARC) in Chocó puts these communities at imminent risk of human rights violations once again. State action must be emphatic to ensure that the human rights of people in Chocó be respected, said Amnesty International.

     

    January 24, 2018

    In the face of a wave of forced displacement in several parts of the country the Colombian state must guarantee the rights of displaced persons and provide protection to several communities that remain at risk, Amnesty International said today.

    Between 17 and 20 January more than 1,000 people have been forcibly displaced and many more are at risk of displacement due to clashes between different armed groups in the areas of Bajo Cauca, Southern Córdoba and the boundaries between Boyacá and Casanare.

    January 14, 2018

    Time after time, supporters of Amnesty Canada have faithfully raised their voices in countless creative ways to denounce acts of terror aimed at destroying the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in north-western Colombia. Community leaders have told us all the messages of concern, like those written by activists in Vernon, have helped to save lives.

    Now the Peace Community is appealing for support again amidst dangerous new threats from armed paramilitaries, who often operate with the support or acquiescence of state security forces and authorities. On 29 December, five paramilitaries attacked and injured German Graciano Posso, the community’s legal representative. Other members of the community courageously managed to disarm and capture two of the assailants (pictured below), suffering injuries in the process, and hand them over to the National Prosecutor’s Office. Yet authorities later released the two.

    December 12, 2017
    Picture of Colombian man with quote from Amnesty International Americas Director - "Another murder of a leader with protection measures from the National Protection Unit demonstrates the urgent need to rethink the Colombian state's protection system,"

    Download UA 268/17 Colombia

    268 Colombia.pdf

    Two land claimant leaders of collective Afro-descendent territories in Curvaradó, Jiguamiandó, Piedeguita and Mancilla in Chocó have been killed by paramilitary groups belonging to the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC). The inhabitants of these humanitarian zones and areas of biodiversity feel threatened.

    December 06, 2017
    Wounaan community in danger

    Photo Credit: Amnesty International

    Download PDF of the most recent update to UA 178/17 Colombia

    178c Colombia.pdf

    Several Embera Indigenous communities and the Afro-descendent community of Taparal in the department of Chocó, Colombia, find themselves confined and terrified due to the presence of the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC), and due to the possibility of them clashing with the National Liberation Army (Ejército De Liberación Nacional, ELN) in their communities.

    December 06, 2017
    Image of community of peace sign from Bar Human Rights committee of England and Wales

    Photo: via Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

    Download PDF of UA 263/17

    263 Colombia.pdf

    Paramilitary groups continue their incursions and threats against the people of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia, and the leaders who have reported these abuses nationally and internationally.

    November 22, 2017

    A year on from the signing of the Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), other guerrilla and paramilitary groups are wrestling for control of parts of the country in conflicts that are wreaking havoc on the lives of ordinary Colombians, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Years of solitude continue explores how the Colombian Peace Agreement, signed on 24 November 2016, is having a very limited impact on the lives of scores of Indigenous and afro-descendant communities in the department of Chocó – where 60 percent of the population are registered as victims of the armed conflict.

    The Peace Agreement was meant to end the 50-year armed conflict that had resulted in the deaths of more than 220,000 Colombians and displaced nearly seven million people.

    October 10, 2017

    Amnesty International has unveiled the first ever, monumental ‘Aubusson’ tapestry designed by Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero at Bogota’s international airport.

    The twenty square metre tapestry, ‘The Musicians’, woven over the past several months by artisan weavers at Ateliers Pinton, in France, was commissioned by Art for Amnesty on behalf of Amnesty International to promote the human rights of millions across Colombia.

    “I’m very honoured that Amnesty International selected me for this present to Colombia. This tapestry will show all visitors to Colombia how important art and culture are here,” said Fernando Botero.

    “Colombia is going through one of the most hopeful and challenging moments in its recent history. After the signing of the peace agreement between the government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia nearly a year ago, all eyes are on the authorities to ensure justice prevails for the millions of victims of the country’s five decade long war,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    September 05, 2017

    The announcement of a ceasefire agreement between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government is a historic step forward in efforts towards a just and sustainable peace in Colombia. Peace negotiations must ensure that all responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights are held accountable, Amnesty International said.

    “Colombia is taking yet another step towards an end to a five-decade-long armed conflict that has shattered millions of lives,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “It is imperative that all parties to the conflict end attacks on civilians and other crimes under international law and that the parties prioritise human rights and accountability during peace negotiations.”

    The ceasefire has been signed for a four-month period, after which the Colombian government and the ELN will start discussing a potential peace agreement.

    June 02, 2017

    The Colombian government must halt its excessive use of force against protestors taking part in the general strike in Buenaventura, Amnesty International said today.

    “Instead of trying to silence the communities of Buenaventura, the Colombian authorities should protect residents and focus on responding to their demands given the critical levels of violence and exclusion suffered by the people who live in Colombia’s Pacific region,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Programme Director.

    Communities in the port of Buenaventura declared a general strike on 16 May in protest at the government’s continuing failure to respond to their demands for economic, social and cultural rights, including health, drinking water and education.

    The communities denounced the excessive use of violence by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squadron (ESMAD) against those participating in the general strike in the city of Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca.

    Local NGO Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN) has reported the unjustified use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators, including children and elderly and disabled people.

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