The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

OIDHACO expresses grave concern regarding the killing of Human Rights Defenders and Social Leaders, as well as the increase in paramilitary activity.

The International Office for Human Rights – Action on Colombia (OIDHACO) expresses grave concern regarding the wave of violence perpetrated against human rights defenders (HRDs), social leaders and members of political movements during the first weeks of 2017, leaving at least 11 dead.

Land in Colombia – Between usurpation and trade

Document of analysis in which the current situation of land, a central issue within the conflict, is described. It presents issues such as land concentration; land restitution policy; and current policy on development and trade.

Colombia is a country with a high level of land concentration, which is under-used for agricultural purposes. This concentration is due to historical reasons and has been increased and assisted by the armed conflict, which has contributed to high rates of dispossession and forced displacement. Today, Colombia and Sudan have the highest number of internally displaced people in the world. In light of this situation the present government has adopted a policy of land restitution. However, this policy has significant limitations and to date has not been as effective as was hoped. Meanwhile, impunity for this crime is almost complete and displacement continues. In addition, the Colombian government’s current policy on development and trade, based on “megaprojects” could strengthen and deepen further dispossession and land concentration. The issue of land, central to the Colombian armed conflict, is currently on the agenda of the peace negotiations.

‘Legal Framework for Peace’ – Amnesty for Human Rights violations committed by the different actors in the armed conflict

Short document presenting the constitutional reform on transitional justice.

The constitutional reform known as the ‘Legal Framework for Peace’ on transitional justice, adopted on June 19, 2012, includes the possibility of amnesty for human rights violations committed by the actors in the armed conflict (guerrillas, paramilitaries and state security forces), even in cases of crimes against humanity. “The central aspect of the present proposal focuses on the need for alternatives to criminal investigation, in order to make it feasible to prioritize the investigation of certain cases or to make it possible to forgo the criminal prosecution of others” (CCJ). This waiver of investigation and prosecution is in contradiction with international law.

Newsletter 4

European Policy on Colombia The 23 May 2008, in Paris and simultaneously to its general assembly, OIDHACO presented to the press its recommendations on Colombia for the Slovenian and French Presidencies of the European Union (EU).

The 23 May 2008, in Paris and simultaneously to its general assembly, OIDHACO presented to the press its recommendations on Colombia for the Slovenian and French Presidencies of the European Union (EU). The document, which is supported by 60 European organisations, had been previously submitted to the Slovenian and French governments (respectively the 7 and 22 May 2008).

Newsletter 3

The Colombian judicial system begins to break through the inertia of impunity For those of us in European countries who are working for the respect of human rights in Colombia, it is very gratifying to see the advances made by the Colombian judicial

It is important to highlight the judicial investigations of soldiers over the massacre in San José de Apartadó (February 2005) and over the disappearances from the Palace of Justice (November 1986). Equally notable are the investigations into the relationship between politicians and paramilitaries – known as ‘parapolitics’ – which have been taken forward by Colombia’s Supreme Court and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.  These have resulted, at the time of writing, in 61 members of Colombia’s Congress being under criminal investigation because of their relationship with paramilitary groups, with 29 of them in prison. The latter include Senator Mario Uribe, nephew and political ally of President Uribe, who was refused asylum by the Costa Rican government.  The fact that many of them, suspected of being responsible for human rights violations, are in police custody, is an additional indicator of the determination to provide justice.

Newsletter 6

Colombia and the EU’s Scheme of Generalized tariff Preferences (SGP+) Opening a European Commission investigation on Colombia may be the adequate pressure mechanism for Colombian authorities to take United Nations and ILO recommendations seriously.

In 2005, the European Union revised its system of customs preferences for the market access of products coming from developing countries.  The new mechanism, known as “SGP+” includes two country categories: the less developed countries, for which the SGP+

Newsletter 10

European Union – Colombia free trade treaty: the EU’s prestige at stake The third round of trade negotiations between the EU and the three Andean countries (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) was held in Brussels from 4 to 8 May.

The third round of trade negotiations between the EU and the three Andean countries (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) was held in Brussels from 4 to 8 May.  These negotiations have, since January 2009, replaced negotiations for an association agreement between the EU and the Andean Community.

Newsletter 11

When the state intimidates, persecutes and issues threats DAS’s illegal espionage strategy In February 2009, the Colombian press uncovered the scandal of illegal phone-tapping by DAS…

In February 2009, the Colombian press uncovered the scandal of illegal phone-tapping by DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad – Administrative Security Department); the targets are human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians, and Supreme Court judges. Since then, more information has come to light and more allegations made, thanks in part to the Fiscalía (Attorney General’s Office) which seized documents from DAS during a formal search.

Newsletter 15

DAS: Operation Europe Although Colombia’s intelligence services have played an active role in the repression of civil society movements and human rights organisations for several decades now, the creation of the G-3 special group by the DAS

Although Colombia’s intelligence services have played an active role in the repression of civil society movements and human rights organisations for several decades now, the creation of the G-3 special group by the DAS (Administrative Department of Security) in 2004 marked a new departure.  From this date onwards, a systematic policy of phone-tapping, harassment and intimidation began, with its main victims being human rights defenders, Supreme and Constitutional Court judges, journalists and members of the opposition.  Because they were critical of government policies, all of them were treated like dangerous criminals and as a threat to state interests, and thus the subject of relentless persecution.