Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee – Colombia
In its upcoming 135th session, the UN Human Rights Committee will review the eighth periodic report submitted by Colombia concerning its implementation of the ICCPR and will adopt a list of issues for Colombia. In the context of this review, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada welcomed the opportunity to contribute to this list of issues to inform the Committee about the situation of lawyers in Colombia.
In this submission, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada demonstrate that Colombia has failed to sufficiently protect and ensure the independence and proper functioning of the legal profession according to article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and subsequently, has failed to comply with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. The submission contains case examples from lawyers who have faced harassment and persecution due to their work on human rights.
The report highlights three issues which are particularly concerning in Colombia: threats against and harassment of lawyers, insufficient effective protection measures for lawyers, and insufficient investigations of threats and attacks against lawyers. Hence, the professional rights and privileges of lawyers in Colombia are systemically violated. As a result, this undermines the proper functioning of the rule of law and access to justice for all persons through the adequate protection of rights to which all persons are entitled, including the rights to an effective remedy and a fair trial.
Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada therefore recommends the Human Rights Committee to ask the following questions to Colombia concerning the situation of lawyers during its 135th session:
- To provide information on what measures the State party has taken to ensure that lawyers are able to carry out their professional functions safely and independently without fear of threat, intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference, reprisals, or criminal prosecution.
- To respond to reports of lawyers at risk being insufficiently protected despite the purported efforts of the State party to upscale its efforts to provide protection measures for human rights defenders at risk.
- To provide information on what additional measures the State party will take to ensure the prompt, effective, independent and impartial investigations of threats and attacks against lawyers.
Click here to read the full submission.
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