The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

Europe and Colombia

What we do

Europe and Colombia

Europe and Colombia

Oidhaco believes that the European Union, its member states, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom have a fundamental role to play in achieving full respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law in Colombia by adopting human rights as a central element of their political, commercial and cooperation activities.

Colombia and the European Union maintain a Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights, programmed to occur annually. The European Union is also concerned about the situation of human rights defenders, who are essential to the task of peace-building and ensuring respect for, and enjoyment of, human rights. Likewise, the European Union and its member- and other European states have actively supported peacebuilding and a political solution to the internal armed conflict. This is the case with the political and financial support offered to the peace negotiations between the Colombian state and the guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc-EP) and the Final Peace Accord in 2016. The European Union accompanies the implementation of the points contained in Agreement 1 on Comprehensive Rural Reform and Agreement 3 on Economic and Social Reintegration, and provides technical assistance to the Special Investigations Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, established to dismantle the successors of paramilitary organisations. It has also named a European Union Special Envoy to the Peace Process, currently Eamon Gilmore. In addition, the European Commission and various member states created the European Trust Fund for Peace to fund projects that contribute to the implementation of the Peace Accord. These economic initiatives complement other European cooperation instruments and the bilateral initiatives of several European states.

The European Union, its member states and Switzerland also have a commercial relationship with Colombia, governed by two pillars: Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) such as that between the European Union and Colombia, Peru and Ecuador – currently ratified only provisionally – and the EFTA-Colombia FTA. To these should be added the commercial and investment activities of European companies and transnationals headquartered in European cities or listed on European stock exchanges.

In order to achieve its objectives Oidhaco carries out advocacy activities before different European Union institutions, organising events that range from bilateral meetings or round tables with members, assistants and officials of the European Parliament and the European Union’s External Action Service, the Council and the Commission. Oidhaco’s communications activities seek to influence political targets through the production of informative articles, a wide range of advocacy materials, and press releases on the situation in Colombia. Oidhaco also helps Members of the European Parliament prepare parliamentary questions and organises parliamentary sessions and declarations on the situation in Colombia.

In all of these activities, Oidhaco coordinates the activities of its members, who in turn carry out advocacy activities before their governments and with European diplomatic representatives in Colombia.