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OHCHR report 2013 OHCHR Report 2013
OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017 OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017
Brochure: Human Rights in action Human Rights in Action (PDF)
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society A Handbook for Civil Society (PDF)

OHCHR in Colombia (2008-2009)


Human rights context

 
OHCHR has been present in Colombia since 1997. Through its offices in Bogotá, Medellín, Bucaramanga and Cali, it implements a comprehensive programme that includes observing and reporting on human rights and international humanitarian law, giving advice, providing technical cooperation, promoting and disseminating human rights and international humanitarian law, and strengthening national authorities and civil society. In September 2007, OHCHR’s mandate in Colombia was renewed for three years.

Colombia is plagued with internal armed conflict and violence, resulting in pervasive human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law. Drug trafficking and organized crime also feed into this situation. In her 2006 Annual Report on Colombia, the High Commissioner described “numerous and frequent violations of the rights to life and personal integrity, freedom and security, and the right to due process and judicial guarantees”. Although most members of paramilitary groups were formally demobilized as part of the so-called Justice and Peace Law during 2005 and 2006, paramilitary activities persist. Judicial processes to investigate these activities have started, but greater efforts will be needed to ensure the right to truth, justice and reparation for the victims, and the protection of victims, witnesses and members of judicial institutions who courageously fight impunity.

Many Colombians continue to be affected by poverty, discrimination and inequality. Although there has been a decrease in the poverty rate in recent years, around half of the population continues to live under the poverty line. The rights to health, food, education,water and sanitary services,work and housing are still not fully realized. Colombia will be reviewed within the context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) during the third session of the Human Rights Council in 2008.

 

Achievements

 
The Office concentrated on examining cases of extrajudicial executions with the Government. This led to the adoption of internal decisions to prevent extrajudicial executions and to additional measures by the Attorney General’s Office to improve the effectiveness of criminal investigations of those cases.

Through frequent field missions, sometimes to remote rural areas, the Office raised awareness of and helped protect the human rights of community members and human rights defenders, encouraging authorities at all levels to take preventive actions and intensify their dedication to investigating human rights violations.

The legal advice provided by OHCHR had a positive impact on new legislation, most notably in the “Justice and Peace Law” and the Code of Military Justice.

The technical cooperation projects focusing on the rights of persons deprived of liberty and strengthening the human rights perspective within the Attorney General’s Office had a significant impact on institutional policies and helped build confidence,which, in turn, led to progress on other human rights issues.

The Office helped strengthen civil society organizations by creating opportunities for dialogue between them and civil, military and police authorities at the national and regional levels.

Public statements highlighting human rights violations, breaches in international humanitarian law and public policies affecting human rights resulted in greater coverage of human rights issues in the media. 

Priorities

 
OHCHR Colombia’s work for the coming biennium will focus on the fight against impunity. Advice and training will be provided on preventing and investigating incidents of torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions and sexual violence. The Office will continue strengthening the capacity of the Public Ministry (Procurator General,Ombudsman and municipal ombudsmen) and the Attorney General’s Office to investigate human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law and will advocate for protection of and assistance to victims of the armed conflict, human rights defenders and members of the judiciary. OHCHR will focus on supporting victims’ organizations and institutions created to ensure the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparation, and on promoting peace and reconciliation.

The Office will support the strengthening of a human rights culture through training, by promoting an agreement on a national action plan on human rights and international humanitarian law and a national plan on human rights education, and through awareness-raising activities. The Office will strengthen the capacity of the mass media to inform the public about human rights issues.

OHCHR will enhance the capacities of the UN Country Team to assist the State in strengthening its human rights protection system and to mainstream human rights through the 2008-2012 UNDAF.

The Office will concentrate on building the capacity of civil society to participate in the design of and decision-making processes concerning public policies that recognize and protect rights. A training agenda has been developed to promote widespread knowledge about international human rights standards and their application to development issues.

OHCHR Colombia will also strengthen the capacity of civil society to use and inform international human rights mechanisms, including treaty bodies, special procedures, the High Commissioner and the UPR, in order to assist individuals and groups who are marginalized or discriminated against in claiming their rights.

Contact Information

Headquarters

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD)
Contact is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Americas Section
Tel. + 41 22 928 9167


Field

Head of the Office
Tel. (571) 658 3300
Bogotá, Colombia
Email: oacnudh@hchr.org.co

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