Joint oral statement on UPR outcome
25 September 2018

Joint oral statement on UPR outcome

Colombia

Op 20 september 2018, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada delivered an oral statement during the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. During this session, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report of Colombia was adopted. Lawyers for Lawyers had already submitted a NGO-submission for the UPR-session of Colombia.

The statement reads as follows:

Mr President,

Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada welcome the decision of Colombia to support many recommendations made during its 3rdUPR relating to the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders and the investigation of attacks and threats against them. We welcome Colombia’s voluntary commitment to continue adopting measures required for the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders. We call on Colombia to effectively implement these recommendations without delay.

Despite the November 2016 Peace Agreement, there has been an increase in threats and attacks against human rights lawyers and defenders in Colombia. Since November 2016, hundreds of defenders have been killed and Colombian’s Ombudsman has stated that a human rights defender is killed every three days.

Lawyers who are defending vulnerable communities are the subject of threats, harassment and attacks, and are not always given sufficient protection measures to ensure they can perform their professional activities effectively and safely.

When the legal profession is not able to function effectively, this gives rise to human rights violations, impunity and injustice. Fundamental to improving human rights in Colombia is the protection of lawyers, so that they can do their work without fear.

We urge the government of Colombia to take effective and comprehensive measures to adequately protect lawyers in danger, including through the program of the National Protection Unit. This unit should get the necessary budgets to carry out and extend its program in view of the increasing attacks.  The Colombian government should also prevent any threats and attacks against lawyers and promptly and thoroughly investigate any reports of attacks to end impunity.

Click here for a PDF-version of the statement. A video of the statement can be viewed here:

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