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A/HRC/43/51/Add.1: Visit to Colombia - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders


26 December 2019

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The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, on his visit to Colombia, from 20 November to 3 December 2018.

The Special Rapporteur notes the political will and initiatives of the Government to create a safe environment conducive to the defence of human rights in Colombia. However, he concludes that the vast majority of human rights defenders are at risk, and that this risk has increased in the three years since the signature of the Peace Agreement.

The defenders most at risk are social leaders defending human rights in rural areas, in particular those promoting the implementation of the Peace Agreement and defending land and environmental rights and the rights of ethnic communities against the interests of criminal groups, illegal armed groups and State and non-State actors, such as national and international corporations and other powerful interest groups.

Colombia remains the country with the highest number of murdered human rights defenders in Latin America, and threats against this group have soared. Despite progress in this area, there is still a high level of impunity. Although the President of the Government and other authorities have made public statements recognizing the important role of human rights defenders, there is a general lack of positive social recognition and they are undermined and criminalized by other State and non-State actors.

The Special Rapporteur stresses the importance of the effective implementation of the Peace Agreement and the development of a comprehensive policy for the defence of human rights, with the full participation of human rights defenders and civil society, and of further progress in the fight against impunity to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Delivered To:

the Human Rights Council at its 43rd session