ESCR Net condemns violence against demonstrators in Colombia and calls on the State to respect human rights.
ESCR-Net condemns violence against demonstrators in Colombia and calls on the State to respect human rights.
On April 28, 2021, various sectors of Colombian society took to the streets to protest proposed tax increases on basic needs, fuel and public services. These measures would have disproportionately affected a large part of the working and middle class population already facing socioeconomic difficulties. The tax reform bill was justified by the President Iván Duque’s government to mitigate Colombia’s economic crisis fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was withdrawn on Sunday, May 2, 2021. However, protests continued in response to the current government's neoliberal policies. The authorities responded to these protests with severe repression that has been condemned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. According to various sources, as a result of state repression at least 19 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured or arbitrarily detained, and there have been reports of sexual violence against protesters. Those monitoring and reporting on the mobilizations, including human rights defenders and journalists, have received threats and attacks.
ESCR-Net stands in solidarity with its members in Colombia and with the wider civil society in the country. In the context of these serious human rights violations, we call on the Colombian authorities to uphold their human rights obligations and to seek a solution to the crisis in the following ways:
- Respect and guarantee the human rights of citizens who are exercising their legitimate right to protest and de-escalate violence.
- Comply with the directives of September 22, 2020 issued by the Supreme Court of Justice, which are totally or partially unfulfilled. In particular:
- Devise and comply with a protocol of preventive action, follow-up and monitoring of the response, use and verification of legitimate power of the State and the protection of citizens’ right to peaceful protest, including public and substantiated reports about attacks on life and personal integrity;
- Issue a protocol that allows citizens and human rights organizations to verify arrests and transfers of persons during protests.
- Allow the investigative and control bodies to independently fulfill their function of protecting and guaranteeing human rights.
- Respect the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as well as the legitimate human rights demands made by the protesters.
- Lead with an effective transparent dialogue in response to social demands and uphold Colombia’s obligations in terms of economic, political, social, civil and cultural rights.
Several ESCR-Net members have expressed their solidarity individually and collectively:
- Dejusticia: https://www.dejusticia.org/repudiamos-la-violencia-y-pedimos-que-se-respete-el-derecho-a-la-protesta/
- Movimiento Nacional CIMARRÓN: https://twitter.com/MovCimarron/status/1389626123592605712
- Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR): https://twitter.com/Ccajar/status/1390037501096628225
- Asociacion Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), Fundar and Dejusticia: https://derechosypoliticafiscal.org/es/noticias/73-organizaciones-de-america-latina-llamamos-al-gobierno-colombiano-a-cesar-la-violencia
- Comisión Colombiana de Juristas e International Commission of Jurists (ICJ): https://twitter.com/Coljuristas/status/1390307459873624064, https://twitter.com/Coljuristas/status/1390034625100189697
- Dejusticia, ProDESC and Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS): https://twitter.com/Dejusticia/status/1389360281172725761, https://twitter.com/ProDESC/status/1390065375421898754
- FIAN Colombia: https://twitter.com/FIANColombia/status/1390002937544552451
- Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT) https://www.omct.org/es/recursos/declaraciones/colombia-brutal-represi%C3%B3n-de-la-protesta-social
- Amnesty International: https://twitter.com/AmnistiaOnline/status/1389647614715564033
- EarthRights International: https://twitter.com/EarthRightsIntl/status/1390027259034079233
We will continue to share member statements through our Twitter: @ESCRNet
ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights connects over 280 NGOs, social movements and advocates across more than 75 countries to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all.