Amid the 2019 national strike, 59 Venezuelans were arbitrarily arrested and expelled from Colombia on charges that were not based on evidence.
On Wednesday, the Plenary Chamber of the Constitutional Court of Colombia concluded that due process was not observed during the expulsion of 59 Venezuelan migrants that took place amid the 2019 national strike.
The sentence will be published in January 2022. In the press release, however, the Court indicates that the Colombian police arbitrarily deprived the migrants of their liberty. Subsequently, the immigration authorities carried out a massive expulsion, which did not comply with the correct justification of the resolutions of each case.
In this sense, the Constitutional judges emphasize that the authorities did not guarantee the Venezuelan citizens access to adequate legal representation, did not provide them with copies of the expulsion orders, and did not evaluate their individual circumstances.
In Nov. 2019, the Colombian Police arrested 59 Venezuelan migrants, accusing them of having carried out vandal acts during the protests in Bogota city. These arrests, however, were carried out without presenting proof of such accusations.
"The Court's ruling acquires great regional relevance given that the high courts in Chile and Ecuador have also ruled on the prohibition of carrying out mass expulsions," the Center for Studies of Law, Justice, and Society (DeJusticia) said, recalling that Venezuelan migrants were forcibly removed from their jobs or residences.
“The Constitutional Court published a statement announcing judgment SU-397/21, which protects the right to due process and human dignity. We congratulate the 'Migrant Legal Clinic' for the work it does,” Los Andes University tweeted.
Between 2015 and 2020, the “discretionary expulsions” of migrants from Colombia increased by 728 percent, according to data from the Legal Assistance Program for People in Need of International Protection and Victims of the Armed Conflict.