OHCHR in Colombia
OHCHR has been present in Colombia since 1997, playing a unique role based on its technical assistance and monitoring mandate, as well as strengthening capacity in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights with both the State and civil society. It currently operates from the capital city, Bogotá, and nine sub-offices across the country.
OHCHR’s comprehensive strategy includes:
- cooperation and technical assistance and advice to the State and civil society on human rights and international humanitarian law;
- monitoring and analysis of the human rights situation with a view to advising authorities on the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and measures to promote and protect human rights, including through the presentation of annual reports on the human rights situation in Colombia to the Human Rights Council;
- promotion of human rights to the general public and dissemination of information on international human rights and humanitarian law standards.
In addition, the historical Peace Agreement signed in November 2016 between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) has provided OHCHR with new responsibilities on a wide range of human rights-related components of the Agreement. This includes monitoring and reporting on public policies for the dismantling of criminal organizations and protecting human rights defenders, security for former FARC combatants, case review of detained FARC members, and accompanying victims in their search for truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
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- Thanks to a long-term strategic engagement with key actors (State, government, FARC, civil society), OHCHR contributed to the successful inclusion of human rights norms and principles in the Peace Agreement.
- OHCHR has been contributing to promote justice for grave human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law by strengthening the capacities of the transitional justice mechanisms and other state authorities in analyzing and prosecuting gross human rights violations. Civil society and especially victims' organizations have enhanced their participation in transitional justice system.
- OHCHR has been providing support in incorporating territorial, gender and ethnic approaches in the work of these transitional justice mechanisms by providing regular technical assistance. Such assistance included technical assistance to the Special Jurisdiction of Peace promoting its articulation with the special indigenous jurisdiction.
- The capacity of State institutions has progressively been reinforced through prevention and protection mechanisms to address attacks against human rights defenders. With OHCHR's technical support, the Attorney General's Office has improved its investigation strategy.
- Promoting the widening of civic space through participation has been used by OHCHR as an effective tool to de-escalate conflicts and prevent violence by opening spaces for democratic deliberation.
- The Office's unique expertise and analysis based on information gathered through direct monitoring has positioned OHCHR in Colombia as a key reference to provide reliable and objective information on the human rights situation, by highlighting and addressing the root causes of violence and conflict. The Governement and the international community have used this information as a basis for actions to prevent and respond to human rights violations. OHCHR presents an annual report, including an assessment of human rights related components in the Peace Agreement, to the UN Human Rights Council. Those reports are available here.
Partners and Donors
Partners: UN agencies, UN Verification Mission in Colombia (UNVMC), Inter- American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Government of Colombia, Congress of Colombia, Colombian law enforcement and judiciary, Ombudsperson’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Procurator General’s Office, Civil Society Organizations and Indigenous Authorities.
Donors: Canada, European Union, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain-AECID, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USAID, Peacebuilding Fund.
UN Human Rights Focus Areas
- Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
- Peace and security: Preventing violations and strengthening protection of human rights, including in situations of conflict and insecurity
- Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
- Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
- Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
- Participation: Enhancing & protecting civic space and people’s participation
- Civic space
- Young people
Last reviewed: November 2020