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News > Colombia

Colombians Urge End To Stigmatization Of Human Rights Defenders

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "Our struggle is for peace, but the government declares war," Bogota, Colombia, May 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @telesurenglish

Published 21 May 2021
Opinion

Several high-ranking government officials have launched delegitimization campaigns against organizations representing victims of human rights violations.

Eleven Colombian social organizations filed a disciplinary complaint on Thursday against several government officials for harassing and stigmatizing human rights defenders.

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Colombia's Europa-U.S. Coordination (CCEEU), Political Prisoners Foundation (CSPP), Association for Alternative Social Promotion (MINGA), Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), and Orlando Fals Borda Socio Juridical Collective (OFB Collective), are some of the organizations that filed the complaint before the Attorney General's Office.

"Justice authorities must investigate the delegitimizing conduct and harassment committed by Army Commander Eduardo Zapateiro, and Senators Paloma Valencia, Maria Cabal, Carlos Mejia, and Hernan Cadavid," the 11 organizations stated.

Since February 2021, these high-ranking government officials have launched delegitimization campaigns in social networks and live presentations against organizations representing victims of human rights violations.

"The Prosecutor's Office must open an investigation against them for incurring disciplinary misconduct and exceeding the limits of their functions. Public accusations put advocates' lives at risk," the organizations added.

Humankind in Force Legal Corporation, Legal Liberty, Yira Castro Legal Corporation (CJYC), the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers Collective Corporation (CCALCP), and the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (CAJAR) also signed the complaint.

Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the region to live in for human rights defenders. Since 2016, over 200 advocates have been killed in the country. Nine of those victims have been killing during the anti-government protests that are shaking the country since April 28.

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