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UA 062/21
Colombia
Abgeschlossen am 9. August 2021

Diplomatic engagement to solve crisis

AI-Index: AMR 23/4231/2021

The national strike that began last 28 April 2021 continues with hundreds of mobilizations across the country. Authorities responded with stigmatization of protestors and excessive use of force causing human rights violations and possible crimes under international law. As the situation worsens, and after a working visit from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Colombia, the Organization of Americas States (OAS) Member States have yet to act to help resolve this crisis. We call on the United States’ Department of State to lead a diplomatic initiative within the OAS to analyse and propose human rights-based solutions for Colombia.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A national strike «Paro Naciona» started on 28 April, triggered by a proposed tax reform from President Ivan Duque that aimed at increasing tax revenues to counter the country’s economic crisis, which after a year of economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had deteriorated.

The «Paro Nacional» also takes on several demands that Colombia’s civil society expressed in similar protests back in late 2019, such as calling for an end to the killing of human rights defenders, the fulfilment of the Peace Accords, an accessible, safe and comprehensive health system, and a thorough police reform. People now add to their list of demands an end to police repression during protests.

Until 31 May, local human rights organizations documented an estimate of 45 persons killed by law enforcement officials, 25 victims of sexual violence, 6 victims of gender based violence, 1649 arbitrary detentions, and 65 people with eye injuries. The National Attorney Office indicates that there are 129 people disappeared in a report issued on 24 May.

Amnesty International verified videos where the Colombian police used lethal weaponry as well as indiscriminate use of less lethal weapons such as tear gas, water cannons, and other materials against demonstrators in several parts of the country, some of them manufactured in the United States of America.

On 28 May, The United States’ Secretary of State met with Colombia’s Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister and reported that he «reiterated the unquestionable right of citizens to protests peacefully» and  «expressed his concerns and condolences for the loss of life during protest».

From 8 to 10 June, more than three weeks after a formal request to visit the country, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights was able to deploy a working visit in the country.

At present, no Member State has called for the Organization of Americas States Permanent Council to learn first-hand about the situation nor analyse or offer their good offices to contribute with solutions to the human rights crisis in Colombia.

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