Oral statement to Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Colombia
27 March 2024

Oral statement to Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Colombia


On 22 March 2024, Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Lawyers for Lawyers raised grave concerns concerning the continuous violation of the rights of lawyers in Colombia. Lawyers for Lawyers had already submitted a UPR report for the UPR session of Colombia.

The statement reads as follows:

Mr. President,

Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the decision of Colombia to accept many of the recommendations concerning the protection of human rights defenders, including lawyers, and the effective investigation into the attacks and threats against them. We call upon Colombia to effectively implement them without delay.

Lawyers for Lawyers continues to be concerned about the increasing number of reported threats and attacks against human rights lawyers in Colombia. When representing their clients, lawyers have seen continued harassment in the form of verbal intimidation, threatening phone calls, physical and social media threats, and incidents of physical and verbal assault. These attacks, predominantly perpetrated by third parties, are met with insufficient government action to prevent, or address them effectively.

Furthermore, it has been reported that lawyers have been subject to unlawful surveillance activities carried out by the Colombian National Army, which threaten their security, work, and personal lives. In some cases, this had led to assassination attempts and murders.

Lawyers play a vital role in the protection of the rule of law and human rights. Their work is indispensable for ensuring effective access to justice for all. To fulfil their professional duties effectively, lawyers should be able to practice law freely and independently, without any fear of reprisal.

Therefore, we urge Colombia to promptly implement adequate safeguards, both in law and in practice, to ensure the effective protection of lawyers from any form of retaliation in connection to their professional activities.

We also call upon the Colombian authorities to cease any harassment of lawyers and avoid any undue interferences in their work, such as illegal surveillance. Lastly, we urge Colombia to immediately adopt measures guaranteeing the prompt, effective, and independent investigation of all human rights violations against human rights defenders, including lawyers, and hold them accountable.

Thank you.  

See recording of the statement at UN Web TV: https://webtv.un.org/en/asset/k15/k151mqqxrz


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