Colombia: UN expert calls for compliance with international human rights standards in peace and transitional justice agendas
29 September 2023
GENEVA (29 September 2023) – Colombia must guarantee the right of victims to truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence in its peace and transitional justice agenda in compliance with international standards, a UN expert* said today.
“Colombia has made commendable progress in establishing a comprehensive transitional justice mechanism and in clarifying the truth about serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in the context of the armed conflict, in particular with the publication of the final report of the Truth Commission,” said Fabian Salvioli, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, in a statement at the end of a 10-day visit to the country. He urged authorities to step up efforts to advance in the pending aspects of its transitional justice agenda and implement the report’s recommendations.
Salvioli warned that Colombia was witnessing a worrying resurgence of the armed conflict in vast territories of the country, especially those previously affected and their populations. “The insufficient implementation of essential guarantees for non-recurrence contained in the Peace Agreement has fuelled the situation,” he said.
The expert also pointed to challenges and delays in the implementation of financial reparations and psychosocial rehabilitation, despite the adoption of a strong institutional mechanism to provide reparations to the large number of registered victims in the country. “Easing the requirements for registering victims and designing funding mechanisms that complement the existing national budget will be crucial to addressing these issues,” he said.
The Special Rapporteur noted that Colombia had adopted numerous processes to promote the accountability of members of paramilitary groups, armed groups and security forces accused of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
“However, there are delays in the prosecution of cases and concerns regarding the role of victims in defining sanctions to be imposed on perpetrators before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, and the type of sanctions,” he said.
Salvioli noted the Government's renewed efforts to advance peace negotiations with armed and criminal groups and to implement the peace and transitional justice agendas.
“I understand the difficulties in implementing some aspects of the peace agenda and the implementation gap inherited from the previous Government,” the expert said.
“Colombia’s response must include strategies for an effective State presence in areas most affected by the conflict, comprehensive reparations for victims – including land restitution – and sustainable conditions for the return of victims, the reintegration of ex-combatants and the work of human rights defenders, including social leaders,” he said.
The Special Rapporteur will present his report to the Human Rights Council in September 2024.
*Mr. Fabian Salvioli (Argentina) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2018 as the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. He is a human rights lawyer and professor. Fabián Salvioli is professor of International Law and Human Rights at the School of Law of the University of La Plata. He has lectured in many countries and universities across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Mr. Salvioli has authored several books and articles on international human rights law. He was member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee between 2009 and 2016, and its President between 2015 and 2016. As a Special Rapporteur, Mr. Salvioli is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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During the mission: Ms. Brenda Vukovic (+41 079 444 3940 / [email protected]) and Diana Losada: (+57 601 6583300 Ext.1109 / +57 3212841580 / [email protected])