Colombia

Killings of Human Rights Defenders Increase in Colombia: What Is Going Wrong?

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"What is going wrong in Colombia?" asks the coalition of human rights defenders in Colombia. The government of Juan Manuel Santos last year invested time and funding in mechanisms to protect communities and people at risk, among them human rights defenders. 

And yet, in 2012, every five days a defender was assassinated in Colombia, and every 20 hours one defender was attacked. In 2012, 357 men and women in Colombia were attacked for their work as human rights defenders, according to Somos Defensores ("We Are Defenders"), which maintains a unified database of attacks against human rights defenders. Sixty-nine defenders were assassinated, a jump from 49 assassinations in 2011. Indeed, this is the highest number of aggressions against defenders registered by the database in the last ten years, and a 49 percent increase since 2011. The attacks include: 202 threats, 69 assassinations, 50 assaults, 26 arbitrary detentions, 5 forced disappearances, 1 arbitrary use of the penal system, 3 robberies of information, and 1 case of sexual violence...

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Now is the Time for Peace with Justice: Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia

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Now is the time. With spring just around the corner, it’s time we all start thinking about Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. Every year, communities across the United States come together and join in solidarity with our Colombian brothers and sisters in an effort to show policymakers that now is the time for real change in U.S.-Colombia policy.

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A Year of Ups and Downs for Labor in Colombia: ENS End of 2012 Review

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2012 has come and gone and Colombia still has far to go in following up on the Labor Action Plan (LAP). The Labor Action Plan was signed by both the U.S. and Colombian governments during the contentious debate for approval of the Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.  It was intended to serve as a road map to address severe labor rights problems in Colombia as well as the systemic problem of anti-union violence which has made Colombia in recent years the most dangerous country in the world to exercise worker rights...

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Colombian Peace Process Advances

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As Colombia's peace process advances, here are some words to live by.

“We can't condemn Colombians to
another one hundred years of solitude and violence.”
--Enrique Santos Calderón, former editor of El Tiempo, brother of President Juan Manuel Santos

“It's one thing that the victims aren't present at the table in Havana, and it's another thing to ignore their voice, deny their rights.  A peace without victims will have neither political nor moral legitimacy.”
--Senator Juan Fernando Cristo

"The dialogue for ending the armed conflict should be a moment in which sectors of Colombian society that have been marginalized, discriminated against and excluded have an opportunity to effectively present their demands, needs and rights that have long been neglected."
--Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos...

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Unraveling Justice: Military Jurisdiction Expanded in Colombia

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On December 11, the day after International Human Rights Day, the Colombian Congress approved a justice “reform” bill that will likely result in many gross human rights violations by members of the military being tried in military courts—and remaining in impunity.  The bill, along with a separate ruling by the Council of State, unravels the reforms put in place after the “false positives” scandal in which over 3,000 civilians were killed by soldiers.

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