Peace Brigades International and Women’s League For Peace and Freedom Joint Statement on Colombia

UN Human Rights Council 39th session (10 September 2018 to 28 September 2018)

Item 6: Universal Periodic Review

(Original version delivered in Spanish by Kim-Mai Vu, Peace Brigades International)

Mr. President,

Peace Brigades International and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom thank you for the opportunity to make this statement.

As stated by the former Minister of the Interior of Colombia: “Peace is the best way to guarantee human rights and the Peace Agreement is a fundamental milestone” and “aggression against defenders and social leaders continue to be one of the greatest challenges to a durable and sustainable peace.” Peace requires a firm commitment from the new government to continue with the implementation of the Agreement, also undertaken as a voluntary commitment in the context of the UPR,[1] guarantees for the defence of human rights and continuation of negotiations with the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN).

We deeply regret that attacks and killings against human rights defenders continue. During the first half of 2018 alone, 123 such killings were recorded. From 2015 to May 2018, OHCHR verified the occurrence of 25 cases of killings of women human rights defenders, mainly involved in community action and gender-related activities; in some of these cases sexual violence was involved.

In relation to UPR recommendations supported by Colombia with respect to prevention and protection, we emphasise the shortcomings of the current system, the urgent need to implement what was agreed in Havana in this regard, in particular in relation to collective protection measures. We also emphasise the importance of implementing UPR recommendations on impunity, recalling that the investigations should clarify not only the direct perpetrators, but also, and above all, the masterminds of such crimes, especially of crimes against humanity.

We emphasize what has been expressed by social organisations about the imperative need to implement a real policy of dismantling the successor structures to paramilitarism through the mechanisms provided for in the Agreement (point 3.4).

We regret the lack of support to the recommendations (from Uruguay and Zambia) about inviting the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and express our hope to that government will extend to the Rapporteur an official invitation for a visit as soon as possible.

Finally, we consider fundamental that a clear and transparent monitoring of UPR recommendations be put in place. For this reason, the Colombian government should put in place a follow-up plan for the implementation of these recommendations and ensure the full involvement of civil society.

Peace Brigades International and Women’s League for Peace and Freedom


[1] See UN Index: A/HRC/39/6, paragraph: 123.2 Continue the implementation of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace between the National Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army.

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