Home > Publications > OIDHACO´s documents > "Cómo protegemos a quienes defienden los derechos humanos en Colombia. Aportaciones de voces expertas en el marco de la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz"

"How to protect people that defend human rights. Expert voices - the situation during the implementation of the Peace Agreement."

Publication from OIDHACO and the Taula Catalana per la Pau i els Drets Humans a Colombia. Elaborated with collaboration of representatives of human rights organisations, the Colombian government and the United Nations.

In October 2017, OIDHACO and the Taula Catalana per la Pau i els Drets Humans a Colombia published the report “One year since the start of the implementation of the Peace Agreement in Colombia”, about the extent to which the Colombian Peace Agreement between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government had been implemented since it was signed in November 2016.

One of the main conclusions of our analysis was that the signing of the Agreement had a positive impact on the rates of violence in the country due to the cessation of armed confrontation between the FARC-EP and the Colombian army. Not only were the deaths of combatants reduced, but also those of civilians as a result of the armed conflict. There was also a historically low murder rate in the country.

However, we also reported our serious concerns: despite the fact that figures of violence were in decline, the figures of murders of human rights defenders and social leaders had increased alarmingly. Since then, practically every week there have been new murders of members of these groups. Communal leaders, small-scale farming communities, Afrodescendants and indigenous people have been the most affected groups. The proportion of female leaders and women human rights defenders who have suffered assaults and murders has also increased. The State control bodies, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have all called for more forceful and effective responses from the State.

In the first quarter of 2018 the number of murders doubled compared to the same period in 2017. What is happening? Who is killing defenders and why? Why are these groups the most affected and why are there more and more women victims of these aggression and murder? Why do the actions of the State seem to have no impact?

Seeking answers to this, we have invited several experts on different issues to share their analysis in this publication: representatives of Colombian civil society, some of the communities most affected by the violence and also representatives of the Colombian State and the United Nations system.

We wanted not only to give more visibility to the alarming situation of socio-political violence that persists in Colombia after the signing of the Peace Agreement, but also to the factors that continue to generate this violence and its structural causes.

We are issuing this publication in the year which marks the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. At the global level, the impact of this declaration on human rights defenders is being assessed and who better to give us their vision on the importance of the Declaration in Colombia, than the current United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst. It has been an honour to include his piece in this publication.

It is indeed our honour to include all the pieces by all those who participated in this report, those who not only have deep knowledge and understanding of the Colombian context and the human rights situation in the country, but who are also tireless fighters in the struggle to defend human rights. We thank each of them for their contribution to this publication.

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