Moreover, OIDHACO and its signatory members note the announcement in March 2016 of the
beginning of the public phase of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and
the National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as the announcement in October of the installation of
the first table of talks envisaged in that process. We regret that to date this installation has not
taken place and we encourage the parties to begin this process immediately, a fundamental step
in building a lasting and stable peace for Colombia.
Despite the progress made during 2016, OIDHACO and its signatory members express their deep
concern about the wave of murders, attacks and threats that have taken place in recent weeks
against human rights defenders, social leaders and members of political movements, as a result of
their work in achieving peace.1 At the time of writing this communique, OIDHACO and its signatory
members have been informed of the murder of five social leaders, members of the Marcha
Patriótica political and social movement, and attacks against the lives of numerous social leaders,
local political actors, and human rights defenders.2 A number of human rights defenders have also
been threatened with death, particularly in the city of Barrancabermeja, where a mass threat was
issued naming at least six such defenders.3 So far in 2016, the killing of 70 human rights defenders
has been reported, an increase from the previous year; 31 of whom have been killed since the
entry into force of the bilateral cease-fire on 29 August 2016. It is also of serious concern that
since the Marcha Patriótica was founded in 2012, 128 of its members have been killed because of
their political affiliation,4 and it is feared that a situation similar to the genocide perpetrated
against the members of the Unión Patriótica political party could be repeated, considering the
level of instability that Colombia is currently facing.
This wave of attacks coincides with a highly sensitive moment in the peace process and
demonstrates the absence of guarantees of security and protection for these people to carry out
their legitimate work for peace. The common thread that links the people who were targeted in
these attacks is their involvement in the peace process through rural grassroots movements,
campesino (rural farming) associations, land restitution projects and peace education, among
other activities. These people, their families and communities live under a real and constant threat
of becoming the target of future attacks, attempts on their lives and murders.
OIDHACO and its signatory members therefore consider that the role of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia (OHCHR) should be strengthened through the introduction of a human rights component in the United Nations Mission for Colombia, in addition
to the Office’s current mandate.
Given the current situation of high risk and instability, OIDHACO and its signatory members,
Urge the Colombian State to:
- Promptly agree to request a second United Nations resolution introducing a human rights component to the current Mission, or a new mission, which will verify compliance with
Urge the European Union, its Member States, Switzerland and Norway to:
- Pay special attention to the risk situation of human rights defenders, social leaders and members of political movements at this time of instability and call on the Colombian government to ensure their protection.
- Support, with new resources, the OHCHR in Colombia so that it can carry out its current mandate, the new tasks assigned to it and guarantee its autonomy and
continuity independently of the mandate of the United Nations Mission
International Office on Human Rights - Action Colombia (OIDHACO)
Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture (ACAT)
Brot für die Welt
Comité catholique contre la faim et pour le développement-Terre Solidaire (CCFD-Terre Solidaire)
Coordinación Colombia-Europa-Estados Unidos (CCEEU)
Fundación Sueca para los Derechos Humanos
International Caravana of Jurists - Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group
Justicia por Colombia
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Plataforma Suiza por Colombia
Réseau France Colombie Solidarités
Rete italiana di solidarietà Colombia vive!
1 GIL, Andrés, “Enemigos de la paz – Basta ya”, en Semana, November 22, available at:
2 Ibid GIL, Andrés.
3 RUBIANO , María Paula, “No cesa el fuego contra líderes sociales”, in El Espectador; November 27, 2016, available at:
4 Ibid. RUBIANO, María Paula.
5 We are Defenders Program (Programa Somos Defensores), “¿Este es el fin? Informe enero-junio de 2016. Sistema de Información
sobre Agresiones contra defensores y defensoras de DD.HH. en Colombia - SIADDHH. . p.56, 2016, available at:
6 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Annual report on the situation of human rights in Colombia,
(A/HRC/28/3/Add.3), March 15, available at: