Home > Human Rights in Colombia > Human rights defenders > OIDHACO alerta sobre las medidas represivas de la Fuerza Pública en ocasión de las protestas en el marco del Paro Nacional y solicita garantías para las personas que continúan movilizadas

OIDHACO sends alert about repressive measures used by State Security Forces during National Strike protests and calls for guarantees for those who are still protesting

On 21 November, mass protests began as part of the National Strike in Colombia, convened by wide-ranging and diverse sectors of society, and attended by hundreds of thousands of Colombian citizens. The protests are still ongoing in different parts of the

In a statement on 20 November, the International Office for Human Rights - Action Colombia (OIDHACO) warned about the risks of excessive use of force by members of the state security forces during the demonstrations, as had occurred in previous protests, committed in particular by the National Police Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios - ESMAD). On 23 November, a young 18 year-old student named Dilan Cruz was shot at close range by a member of the ESMAD in Bogotá, and later died of his injuries. There have also been reports from citizens in different parts of the country regarding the disproportionate use of force against people protesting peacefully, by members of the ESMAD and other police squads.


In the Valle del Cauca department, 3 people have reportedly been killed during the strike, including two young people who died after being shot by members of the army, in incidents that have yet to be clarified


Moreover, in the cities of Cali and Bogotá the authorities imposed a curfew restricting the right to free movement in public areas, arrested people found in the streets, and militarised these cities. A curfew has not been declared in Bogotá since 1977. There is also an existing complaint, filed with the Public Prosecutor's Office, against Commander Marcos Evangelista Pinto who is in charge of applying the curfew in Bogotá, for his alleged participation in extrajudicial killings committed against civilians.


Human rights organisations report that the authorities have criminalised legitimate social protest and carried out arbitrary arrests during the demonstrations. By Sunday 24 November, 831 arbitrary arrests had been registered, including 46 women and 19 arrests with the aim of prosecution.


President Iván Duque has called for a "national conversation", however so far only some of the sectors who convened the strike have been invited.


Oidhaco asks the international community to closely monitor the development of the ongoing social protests in Colombia and to urge the Colombian government to:


  • Guarantee the right to social protest for Colombian citizens who are continuing their peaceful and legitimate protest as a way to demand respect for their human rights.
  • Immediately investigate and implement sanctions against state agents, high-ranking officials, and other people responsible for the killing of Dilan Cruz and for other abuses and acts of violence committed during the protests.
  • Ensure that the social dialogue called by the government is inclusive and representative of the social sectors and citizens who have been protesting, with presence in the regions. The invitation to this conversation must also be extended to dialogue forums that already exist.
  • Make progress in implementing measures to prevent the excessive use of force by members of the state security forces, such as the protocol on social protest in Interior Ministry Resolution 1190 of 2018.


For further information please contact Jorge Gómez, Oidhaco Coordinator, , tel.+32 2 5361913


Oidhaco. La Oficina Internacional para los Derechos Humanos - Acción Colombia -OIDHACO- pide garantías para las protestas en el marco del Paro Nacional del 21 de noviembre. 20 November 2019.

El Tiempo. Muere Dilan Cruz, joven herido el sábado en marchas en Bogotá. 26 November 2019.  

Pacifista. Violencia en el 21N: abuso policial, vandalismo y saqueos. 22 November 2019.

El Tiempo. Momento cuando soldados disparan a joven durante Paro Nacional en Buenaventura. 22 November 2019.

LaFM. Víctimas denuncia al General Marcos Evangelista Pinto por más de 20 casos de falsos positivos. 8 February 2018.

Defender la libertad: asunto de todas. Boletín informativo 7: Paro Nacional. 24 November 2019.

El Espectador. Gobierno expide resolución para adoptar protocolo para la protesta social. 3 August 2018.



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