Tag Archives: Colombia

Colombia: Report Caravana mission 2018

March 26, 2019

Report Caravana mission 2018

The International Caravana of Jurists travelled to Colombia at the beginning of September 2018, to ascertain the impact that the peace process has had on the work of human rights lawyers and the dynamics of the conflict. A report of the mission is now available.

 

Since 2008, the Caravana has organised six international biannual delegations to Colombia in fact-finding missions to monitor the situation of human rights defenders, specifically on access to justice and respect for the rule of law.

The Sixth delegation of the International Caravana of Jurists visited Colombia shortly after the inauguration of President Iván Duque. At a time when the peace process hangs in the balance and violence escalating dramatically across Colombia, the delegation met with lawyers and judges working both within and outside state institutions and heard directly from victims and activists about the situations of risk which they face.

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016, hundreds of human rights defenders have been killed and the UN has called for decisive action to stem the tide of violence enveloping many regions. Colombian’s official state Ombudsman has reported that a human rights defender is killed every three days.

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/report-caravana-mission-2018/

http://www.colombiancaravana.org.uk/colombia-seeking-justice-building-peace-post-conflict-illusion-report-sixth-international-caravana-jurist/

https://fliphtml5.com/asev/akvj

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Colombia: Protective Measures for Human Rights Lawyer Adil Meléndez | Letter

March 14, 2019

Pablo Elías González Monguí
Director, Unidad Nacional de Protección
Carrera 63 # 14 – 97
Puente Aranda
Bogotá D.C. 111611
Colombia

Dear Mr González Monguí

Re: Protective measures for human rights lawyer Adil Meléndez

I write on behalf of the Colombian Caravana (hereafter the ‘Caravana’), a UK registered charity that co-organises the International Caravana of Jurists, and the Foundation of the Spanish National Bar Association, the International Observatory of Lawyers, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

During biennial visits to Colombia since 2008, including during the International Caravana of Jurists most recent visit in September 2018, we have called upon the Colombian government to protect the ability of lawyers and human rights defenders to represent their clients, and to refrain from any interferences in their work, in order to comply with both Colombian and international law.

The aforementioned organisations are concerned that in December 2018 Adil Melendez’s bullet proof car was withdrawn by the National Protection Unit (UNP) and instead he was provided with a standard car. Mr Melendez had been provided with an armoured car in recognition of the acute risk he faces as a human rights lawyer; we understand that this acute risk has not diminished.

We were further alarmed when Mr Melendez informed us that one of his two bodyguards, also assigned to him by the UNP, has not provided protection to him since 25 February 2019, when both bodyguards failed to arrive for work. We are informed that the other bodyguard has resumed his work only in the last few days. In effect, for over a week, Mr Melendez has been left without the protection measures granted to him by the UNP and can currently rely on one bodyguard only.

The Caravana works closely with Mr Melendez and has met with him on several occasions, including during our last visit to Colombia, in September 2018. His work is vital to advancing justice and protecting human rights in Colombia, particularly in the Caribbean region. It is understood that he is targeted and threatened as result of his work.

https://www.lrwc.org/colombia-protective-measures-for-human-rights-lawyer-adil-melendez-letter/?fbclid=IwAR3CpMWOrYQBy9kwPkDEwt1B5G3L_FZOyPfQI_M3KUNKshIArKlHcW_W79Q

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/lawyers/adil-jose-melendez-marquez/

https://www.elheraldo.co/atlantico/jorge-luis-alfonso-lopez-se-reune-con-victimas-en-la-carcel-de-sabanalarga-573998 (ESPANOL)

Colombia: Daniel Prado, Colombia

Daniel Prado is a prominent Colombian human rights lawyer. He began his career by providing legal support to the family members of victims of enforced disappearance in the early 1990s and currently works with the Colombian NGO the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP). Among other emblematic cases, Daniel represents victims of paramilitarism in the case of Los Doce Apóstoles (The Twelve Apostles), in which Santiago Uribe, brother of former President and Senator Alvaro Uribe Velez, stands accused of creating paramilitary groups responsible for more than 500 murders. Daniel’s involvement in this and other high-profile cases has seen him exposed to threats, stigmatization and harassment, as well as a public campaign of defamation and slander. Due to the high level of threats against him, in November 2017 the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights passed a sentence extending his protection measures. PBI has accompanied the CIJP since 1994.

On 13 November 2018, Daniel Prado was awarded one of the first ever Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders, in recognition of his extraordinary courage and determination in pursuing justice for the oppressed and the marginalised.

On his work and its beneficiaries

My name is Daniel Prado Albarracín and I am a lawyer in defence of human rights. I have done my work first and foremost as a human rights defender, in collaboration with defenders’ organizations such as the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) and the Inter-church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP). In addition to that, I provided professional service to the Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (ASFADDES) several years ago.

The work I do is for people with few economic resources, usually victims of state security agencies, who would not otherwise have the means to access a lawyer. Usually they were victims of people with military political power; they are very vulnerable people. The population groups they come from are diverse, indigenous, displaced, some of the most vulnerable communities in the country. People linked to the conflict, relatives of people linked to the conflict, community leaders who have been persecuted and victims of violent acts such as enforced disappearance, torture or homicide.

On the risks he faces for his work

I believe they want to threaten my life and this could be acted upon at any time because there is no serious policy on the part of the state to ensure the defence and the dignity of human rights defenders. The transcendence and importance of our role as overseers is not understood. If in Colombia there was the possibility that the state would assume the investigations for each one of the human rights violations, we would not be necessary. But the state does not understand and many times it is the one in charge of persecuting us. State agents are used to persecute us, to intercept our telephones, to persecute our relatives, to take photographs of them… this is a state policy that continues today.

The risks in Colombia are unstoppable. I have taken many cases with consequences for a lot of people. Personally I think that at some point something will happen – there is a 90% chance that it will happen because there are many people who are upset with the work that I have done in the defence of Human Rights. There is Alfonso Prados Vega who is spreading words against me, he has a lot of hatred and a lot of power, he is close to Uribe Velez. Uribe as ex-president and senator every so often is naming me, accusing me of things, alleging that I am a guerrilla, faithful lawyer of the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Peto, a number of things that are not true. At any point they could make an attempt on my life.

https://peacebrigades.org.uk/daniel-prado-colombia

https://pbicolombiablog.org/2018/08/02/daniel-prado-lamentablemente-recibir-amenazas-hace-parte-de-nuestro-compromiso-con-la-vida-y-la-dignidad-de-nuestro-pais/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.elsaltodiario.com/colombia/daniel-prado-paramilitares-llegaron-tener-presidente-colombia-uribe-12-apostoles (ESPANOL)

Colombia: Joint Letter issued to the Colombian President concering threats made to the lawyer Daniel Prado

December 4, 2018

Daniel Prado: “Unfortunately in our country receiving threats goes hand in hand with a commitment to life and dignity”

The Law Society of England & Wales, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, the Bar Council of England & Wales, and the Bar Human Rights Committee express their concern about serious threats made against the lawyer Daniel Prado in Colombia

 

Mr. Prado represents victims of atrocities committed by a paramilitary group. See on the right side of this page the letter in English and Spanish.

 

http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/international/joint-letter-issued-to-the-colombian-president-concering-threats-made-to-the-lawyer-daniel-prado/5066508.fullarticle

https://pbicolombia.org/2018/08/09/daniel-prado-unfortunately-in-our-country-receiving-threats-goes-hand-in-hand-with-a-commitment-to-life-and-dignity/#more-8506

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/joint-letter-on-behalf-of-lawyer-daniel-prado/

https://pbicolombia.org/tag/daniel-prado/

Colombia: Atentan contra la vida de abogada de la Defensoría del Pueblo, en Barranquilla

09/11/18

En la mañana de este viernes en el barrio El Lucero. Fue herida en el rostro con arma de fuego.

A las 6:40 de la mañana de este viernes fue atacada a bala la abogada de la Defensoría del Pueblo, Dignoris Pérez Niño, de 40 años, cuando salía de su residencia, ubicada en la calle 52 con carrera 31, barrio Lucero de Barranquilla.

Según la información de las autoridades, la abogada fue atacada por un sujeto a pie que sin mediar palabra le disparó ocasionándole un herida en el pómulo izquierdo con orificio de salida por la oreja del mismo lado.

La mujer fue llevada rápidamente a la Clínica La Merced, donde a esta hora recibe atención médica.

La Policía investiga el atentado y trata de establecer si guarda relación con su profesión.

https://www.publimetro.co/co/barranquilla/2018/11/09/atentan-la-vida-abogada-la-defensoria-del-pueblo-barranquilla.html

https://www.elheraldo.co/judicial/abogada-de-la-defensoria-iba-para-audiencia-y-resulta-baleada-564056

https://canal1.com.co/noticias/fiscalia-y-policia-investigan-atentado-a-defensora-de-derechos-humanos-en-barranquilla/

https://www.bluradio.com/barranquilla/atentan-contra-una-defensora-publica-en-barranquilla-196264-ie2020922

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 20/11/18)

UK/Colombia/Egypt/China/Honduras etc: Occupational hazards

October 22, 2018

Turkey arrest

Lawyers all over the world risk losing their liberty – and worse – when they seek to uphold fundamental human rights. Jonathan Rayner reports

 

THE LOW DOWN
Across the world in places once deemed ‘safe’, the rule of law is under pressure to give way to populism and authoritarianism – meaning lawyers’ clients and their own support for justice are putting them personally at risk. In Colombia, 120 lawyers were murdered in 2017. President Erdogan’s crackdown in Turkey has seen 22 advocates put on trial for ‘terrorism’, and the list of countries where similar incidences are occurring is long – including China, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Venezuela, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Kenya. Yet international solidarity between lawyers is strong, and many are organising to protect and support persecuted colleagues in a battle for justice that can feel like it must be fought street-by-street.

 

English lawyers, and this is perhaps to over-dramatise matters, have been at imminent risk of violent death since 1591. That was the year that Shakespeare wrote Henry VI part two and placed the words, ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, into the mouth of a rebellious Dick the Butcher. Some 427 years later, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2018 was marked by lawyers in 35 European and other cities worldwide. They were showing solidarity with their persecuted Egyptian counterparts, the same way that in the previous two years they had demonstrated their support for imperilled lawyers in China and Honduras.

Egypt, China, Honduras – three nations on three different continents. The threat to lawyers, although small in the UK, is global. Dick the Butcher’s rantings have been supplanted by something altogether more sinister: extra-judicial executions, state-sanctioned wrongful imprisonment and harassment, electronic surveillance and an autocratic disregard for the rule of law. Sir Patrick Elias, president of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and a retired Appeal Court judge, says the problem is widespread: ‘It flourishes wherever there are dictatorships.’

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/occupational-hazards/5067998.article?fbclid=IwAR3Xzxsrzp_0Hvxfx1KKtHcYLywlN9bgLaNQk3zf-hhJURnuvojCS7RwuDQ

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Colombia: Protection of Human Rights Lawyers and Defenders | Oral Statement to the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 20, 2018

Organization: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
Date: 20/21 September 2018
HRC section: 39th Session (Agenda Item 6)
Speaker: Mr. Paul Scambler

Oral Statement to the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Regular Session – Oral Statement Item 6: UPR Outcomes: Colombia

Mr. President,

Lawyers for Lawyers [1] and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada [2] welcome the decision of Colombia to support [3] many recommendations made during its 3rd UPR relating to the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders and the investigation of attacks and threats against them. We welcome Colombia’s voluntary commitment to continue adopting measures required for the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders [4]. We call on Colombia to effectively implement these recommendations [5] without delay.

Despite the November 2016 Peace Agreement,  there has been an increase in threats and attacks against human rights lawyers and defenders in Colombia. Since November 2016, hundreds of defenders have been killed and Colombian’s Ombudsman has stated that a human rights defender is killed every three days [6].

Lawyers who are defending vulnerable communities are the subject of threats, harassment and attacks, and are not always given sufficient protection measures to ensure they can perform their professional activities effectively and safely.

https://www.lrwc.org/columbia-protection-of-human-rights-lawyers-and-defenders-oral-statement-to-the-39th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/

https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-rights-council-holds-general-debate-human-rights-situations-require-councils-0

https://www.ishr.ch/news/hrc39-l-states-largely-decline-cite-specific-cases-during-councils-first-discussion-reprisals

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/joint-oral-statement-on-upr-outcome/