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UN expert on human rights defenders visits Colombia

04 September 2009

GENEVA (4 September 2009) -- The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, shall visit Colombia from 7 to 18 September 2009.

The purpose of the visit is to assess the situation of human rights defenders, most notably in light of the recommendations made by the then Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders in her report following her visit to Colombia in October 2001 (E/CN.4/2002/106/Add.2).

The Special Rapporteur has requested to meet, among other officials, with the President; the Vice-President; the Minister for Foreign Affairs; the Minister of Interior; the Minister of Defence; the Vice-Minister of Justice; the Director of the Presidential Programme of Human Rights; the Directorate of Human Rights – Protection Program; the Presidential Adviser on Women´s Equity; Heads of the Army and the Police, including Intelligence sections; the Director of the Civil Intelligence Agency (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad); judges from the Supreme Court of Justice; judges from the Constitutional Court; the National Procurator (el Procurador General de la Nación); the Procurator for Human Rights and Ethnic Issues; the General Attorney; the Human Rights Commission of the Congress; and the Ombudsman.

The Special Rapporteur will also meet with wide ranging representatives of civil society, the United Nations and diplomatic delegations. She is scheduled to visit Bogotá, Barranquilla, Medellín, Cali and Arauca where she has also requested to meet with relevant local authorities and civil society.

The Special Rapporteur will give a press conference in Bogotá at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of the mission on 18 September 2009, at which time she will present her preliminary findings.

Mrs. Sekaggya, a magistrate from Uganda, was appointed Special Rapporteur by the Human Rights Council in March 2008. She took up her functions on 1 May 2008.