This issue of the Brussels based international office on Human Rights in Colombia, Oidhaco, contains the following themes:
– Defending human rights: dangerous work;
– Two years of the peace process in Havana;
– Justice and Peace paramilitaries released from prison;
– The European Union and Colombia;
– The UK – Colombia Bilateral Investment Treaty;
– The UN reiterates its concern about the expansion of Military Jurisdiction;
– Verification missions to Colombia: the situation causes concern.
Defending human rights: dangerous work
Oidhaco would like, once again, to reiterate its strong concerns about the lack of security surrounding human rights defenders. According to the quarterly report of the We are Defenders Program – Programa Somos Defensores, the number of attacks has increased by 234% compared to the same period last year. 186 human rights defenders were victims of some type of aggression between July and September. If we add the number of assaults and threats recorded throughout 2014, the number of defenders affected reaches 366. 45 have been killed.
Meanwhile, in September, the National Award for the Defence of Human Rights was given to Matilde Leonor López Arpusha, an indigenous defender; to Patricia Ariza Flor, a celebrated defender of cultural human rights; to the Network for Life and Human Rights Cauca – Red por la Vida y los Derechos Humanos del Cauca, to the Women’s House – Casa de Mujeres and the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca – CRIC). At the same time, 120 community leaders and human rights defenders were threatened by the Central Block of the Black Eagles paramilitary group. The Oidhaco General Assembly, which met in Brussels, sent a letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, asking her to publicly condemn the threats and support the work of defending human rights. This was supported by a Parliamentary Question signed by Javier Couso, Izaskun Bilbao, Linda McAvan, Ernest Urtasun and Elena Valenciano, asking for details about the actions of the External Action Service and the EU delegation in Bogotá to support defenders.
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