September 23, 2016
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns over the harassment and intimidation of Yessika Hoyos and members of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR).
Yessika Hoyos is a human rights lawyer whose work focuses on seeking accountability and reparations for crimes committed against the trade union movement and representing victims of other grave human rights violations. Her father, a key union figure and educator, was murdered in 2001 by military intelligence. Agents of the National Police, army and paramilitary are implicated in the murder. Yessika Hoyos’ work at CAJAR also involves pushing for accountability in the case of her father’s murder.
It has come to our attention that Yessika Hoyos and other members of CAJAR have faced increasing harassment and intimidation as a result of their human rights work. Reports indicate that Yessika Hoyos and her colleagues at CAJAR have experienced a number of incidents of harassment and intimidation, including threats and surveillance by unknown individuals.
The Law Society is deeply concerned about these reports. We believe strongly that lawyers should be able to exercise their legitimate duties without fear for their lives, for their liberty and for their security.
The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the government of Colombia to comply with Articles 16 and 23 of the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.