1998: Persecution against human rights organisations

By 1998 Colombia had been facing years of high levels of violence, with paramilitaries from the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC) expanding their presence to many parts of the country, carrying out violent attacks and massacres to sow fear and to fight against the guerrilla, leaving civilians at the centre of these attacks. During this period smear campaigns began to be waged against human rights organisations like the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos – FCSPP), who PBI started accompanying in 1998.

The FCSPP are currently facing renewed stigmatisation and smears because of their work supporting the search for truth and the struggle against impunity[1]. Back in 1998 they were reporting cases of forced disappearance against people who had been arrested or imprisoned. Today more than 100,000 cases are under investigation, of people who were arrested and then “never heard of again”.

In 1998 the peace negotiations between the Pastrana government and the FARC guerrilla also began, in a demilitarised area of San Vicente del Caguán (Caquetá department).

PBI Colombia


[1] PBI Colombia: “Necesitamos garantía para nuestra vida y para realizar nuestra labor”: Franklin Castañeda, 18 November 2019

**Video realized by Javier Bauluz and produced thanks to the support the International Cooperation Agency of Extremadura for the Development (AEXCID)


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