Summary of Our Interventions Concerning Colombia

March 20 - April 28, 2000
Palais des Nations, Geneva

We highlighted that an average of 12 people in Colombia are victims of socio-political violence every day. In 1999, in the category of trade unionists alone, 69 people were assassinated, 33 were disappeared and 676 received death threats. Also, in 1999, 402 massacres have been documented, with at least 1,836 victims.

Forced displacements have also increased in 1999, with an estimated 225,000 newly displaced people, raising the total number of internally displaced people, since 1985, to 1.7 million persons. Moreover, security, resettlement or return plans have not been guaranteed by the Colombian authorities. As noted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report on Colombia, there is absence of strategy and institutional mechanisms to protect communities at risk of displacement. Further, after his 1999 visit to Colombia, the Secretary General's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Francis Deng, indicated that paramilitary groups are mainly responsible for internal displacement and act in collaboration with the armed forced and the police.

We expressed deep alarm that the United States government has approved $ 1.6 billion for military and drug control assistance to Colombia when sufficient funding for the overburdened Office of the HCHR in Bogota is lacking.

We recommended that the Commission on Human Rights:

  1. strengthen the mandate of the HCHR Office in Bogota and that the High Commissioner presents her report on the activities of the office in Colombia to the General Assembly;
  2. request the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Expression to examine the situation in Colombia;
  3. call the Colombian government to implement the international recommendations that UN bodies have requested it for the last decade.
  4. Summary links for the Commission 2000: Colombia, Iraqi, Philippines, Pakistan, Mexico, women, migrant workers, human rights defenders
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UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-sixth session
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UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-sixth session