CONDEMNS THE ASSASSINATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its repudiation
of the murder of human rights defender José
Rusbell Lara, a member of the Joel Sierra Regional Human Rights Committee,
on November 8, 2002, in the municipal capital of Tame, in the Department of
Arauca, Republic of Colombia, and conveys its condolences to his family.
view of the threats against him and the risks to both Mr. Lara and other
human rights defenders in the department of Arauca, the IACHR requested the
Colombian State to adopt special protective measures as of July 29, 2002, as
contemplated in the Rules of Procedure of the Commission in cases of extreme
seriousness and urgency, in order to prevent irreparable personal harm.
Nevertheless, despite that request by the IACHR, the information
currently available indicates that at the time of the assassination
protective measures had not been implemented effectively.
should be recalled that the member states of the Organization of American
States (OAS), in resolution AG/RES. 1842 (XXXII-O/02), “Human Rights
Defenders in the Americas: Support
for the Individuals, Groups, and Organizations of Civil Society Working to
Promote and Protect Human Rights in the Americas,” adopted by the OAS
General Assembly on June 4, 2002, resolved:
To condemn actions that directly or indirectly prevent or hamper the
work of human rights defenders in the Americas.
To urge member states to step up their efforts to adopt the necessary
measures, in keeping with their domestic law and with internationally
accepted principles and standards, to safeguard the lives, personal safety,
and freedom of expression of human rights defenders.
The IACHR regrets the failure of the Colombian State to implement
effective protective measures and urges it to investigate this crime
exhaustively and to try and punish those responsible, as well as to ensure
that the remaining human rights defenders covered by the Commission’s
request receive proper protection.