Colombia: Government must end violence against protesters


Statement at the 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

 Delivered by Óscar Eduardo Ramírez, Campaña Defender la Libertad

As emphasised in the outgoing Rapporteur's report, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated social and economic inequalities and, if urgent action is not taken, we will face an epidemic of police killings on an unprecedented scale. 

The case of Colombia illustrates this trend. A large number of organisations from around endorsing this statement is deeply concerned about the brutal repression of protests that began two months ago, generated by poverty, inequalities and systemic racism. As of 28 June, human rights organisations have recorded 83 people who have lost their lives as a result of the action of security forces and armed civilians. 

Police, the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad and the army have used firearms with lethal ammunition extensively against demonstrators. Indiscriminate and excessive use of "less lethal" weapons, including multiple projectile launchers, has also been documented.

Mr. Rapporteur and members of the Human Rights Council, we urgently call on you to urge the Colombian authorities to take the necessary measures to respect and guarantee the right to life in the context of protests; to document and investigate all cases of arbitrary deprivation of life, identifying those who gave the orders; and to ensure that those responsible are tried by a civilian judge and under no circumstances by a military court.

In the same vein, it is urgent to support the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in the clarification of the more than 6000 extrajudicial executions under investigation, most of which were committed between 2002 and 2008, in order to guarantee their non-repetition.


  1. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  2. CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  3. Defence for Children International
  4. FIAN International
  5. International Bar Association
  6. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  7. Peace Brigades International (PBI)
  8. Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)
  9. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Civic space in Colombia is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor



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