INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been carefully monitoring the situation of human rights defenders in the Republic of Colombia, whose work makes them the target of threats and acts of violence. The Commission asked the State to adopt special measures to protect organizations and individuals representing victims of human rights violations and, in particular, measures aimed at eliminating risk factors.
In recent weeks, the IACHR has learned that a number of regional and national organizations involved in defending human rights, representing victims of armed conflict and vulnerable groups, promoting peace, working for development, and active in journalism and university activities have come under threats declaring them to be military targets. Likewise, several of these organizations have been victims of the theft of work-related data, as part of a pattern of harassment intended to dissuade them from pursuing their activities.
Given this situation and heightened risks to the life and physical safety of the members of these organizations, the Commission underscores its concern over the situation of human rights defenders in the Republic of Colombia and its interest in monitoring that situation carefully. It also calls upon the State to redouble its efforts to protect human rights defenders and their organizations, to ensure that they have the necessary guarantees to continue their work in the defense of human rights, and to remove risk factors, in particular by means of judicial investigations into these acts.
Washington, D.C., June 16, 2006