A couple of weeks ago I was all set to attend my second criminal hearing in Colombia, though this time accompanying the defense lawyer, not a lawyer on the prosecution side (representing the victims is a role permitted in the Colombian justice system), as I did in 2010 in the San Jose de Apartado massacre case. Now, two is more attempts later, I’m seeing first hand some of the frustrations that many human rights lawyers have expressed about the Colombian judicial system. Continue reading Justice… delayed
My first accompaniment as a PBI volunteer, with the Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos (Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners) in February of this year to the maximum security prison in Valledupar, remains the most shocking and powerful experience I´ve had in Colombia. I´ll do my best to describe the experience here, but I remember how words failed me when I returned to our office in Bogota and attempted to write up a report on the accompaniment. Continue reading The horrors of the maximum security prison in Valledupar
Human rights lawyers dedicate their lives to representing victims in cases of forces disappearances, extrajudicial executions and massacres. But working on emblematic cases carries a very high price. In Colombia, where 90% of human rights violations remain in impunity, stigmatisation, threats and persecution form a part of the daily challenges facing these lawyers. In this video, some of the lawyers who are accompanied by PBI speak about the risks they face, and their motivation to continue defending victims of human rights violations.
If you ask people in the Curbaradó river valley how they are doing, they will often say: ‘Aquí, luchando’ (here, struggling). During the last several months I’ve been accompanying quite a bit in Curbaradó, and am beginning to understand why they say that. Continue reading “Here, struggling”: Accompanying displaced Afro-Colombian communities