Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CPDH)

The Permanent Committee for the Defence of Human Rights was founded in 1979.  It works to defend human rights and find a peaceful solution to the armed conflict.  CPDH’s four main areas of work are:

  • implementing the Havana Peace Agreements,
  • abuses by state authorities,
  • training schools on human rights issues,
  • accompaniment and advice for human rights networks and platforms.

CPDH is monitoring the Rural Transitional Normalisation Zones and the reintegration of former FARC combatants into civil society. The team has been involved in elaborating the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP) whose main focus is the rights of victims.

Tales from the field: Looking for Henry Diaz (July 2013)


La Europa Farm

Situated in Ovejas municipality (Sucre), it covers 1300 hectares of land and is in a geographically strategic area that straddles the Ruta del Sol.[1] After the violence of the 1990s the farmers fled the area, displaced.  They began a partial return between 1997 and 1998 when they restarted farming the land but did not live there.

Between 2002 and 2005, prosecutions were launched against ten farmers from the communities, accused of collaborating with the insurgency.[2]

In 2008, the families decided to recover their lands, and eventually in 2010 they returned to live on the farm, accompanied by Movice Sucre.  There are 24 families currently living on the farm.  During the inhabitants’ absence, their lands were illegally sold to the company “Arepas Don Juancho” despite the farmers’ assurances that the farm belonged to them. The families have been receiving death threats since 2011.

In 2013, the community presented its case to a Land Restitution Specialised Tribunal. CPDH is legally representing the community.

PBI Coffee Break: “The land issue must be resolved” (December 2016)

Tales from the field: When the threats don´t end (January 2017)

Peace Brigades International © 2011 Charlotte Kesl Photography

Peace Brigades International© 2011 Charlotte Kesl Photography
Fotos: Charlotte Kesl

Case of the Mondoñedo Massacre

On 7 September 1996, members of the DIJIN unit of the National Police murdered six people. The policemen detained six young people, accused them of being guerrillas, tortured them and murdered them.

These facts led to a specialised court sentencing three former policemen to 40 years in prison in 2003, and ordering financial compensation to be paid to the victims’ families. In 2013, a criminal court sentenced retired Colonel Hector Edison Castro Corredor to 40 years in prison for taking part in the massacre, finding him guilty of murder and aggravated kidnapping. [3]

Threats, harassment and murders

CPDH’s members have been the victim of death threats, their communications have been hacked and their telephones wiretapped.[4]

Protection measures

CPDH has two collective protection measures in Bogota. From 2012, Edgar Montilla, Martin Sandoval, Athemay Sterling and Diego Martinez, and the members of CPDH’s branches in Bogota, Huila, Nariño and Arauca have precautionary measures granted to them by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.[5]

PBI Putumayo

International accompaniment

PBI has accompanied the organization since 2014.


[1]Semana: Caos vial en la concesión Córdoba-Sucre, 1 January 2015
[2]Some of the farmers were accused as part of Operation Mariscal Sucre, which involved the mass detentions of 156 people accused of rebellion in Montes de Maria in 2003. Verdad Abierta, Víctimas exigen al Estado reconocer responsabilidad en Operación Mariscal, 24 May 2017
[3]Rutas del Conflicto: Masacre del Mondoñedo
[4]Alirio Uribe: Amenazas y persecución contra el CPDH, 11 March 2015
[5]Acnur: Informe Anual 2012 de la CIDH, p.75.

making space for peace

%d bloggers like this: