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Colombia: An opportunity to move police reform forward

During its 76th session, on 18 and 19 April 2023, the CAT reviewed Colombia's 6th periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Mr. Claude Heller and Mr. Iscan Erdogan.

The country delegation was led by Elizabeth Taylor Jay, Vice-Minister of Multilateral Affairs of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This review took place in the presence of a delegation from the country, which was commended for its diverse representation, demonstrating the Colombian government's willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the Committee.

Main issues discussed:

Following the Final Peace Agreement, the CAT encourages the ongoing peace negociations with non-state armed groups, as it guarantees the victims' right to justice, truth, reparation, and non-repetition.

The CAT experts further pointed out the persistence of systemic violence and killings perpetrated against human rights defenders, journalists, former FARC combatants, social leaders, indigenous peoples, members of the LGBTQI+ community, women, and poor individuals.

The CAT expressed concern about the lack of investigations into the deaths of 24 detainees at La Modelo prison on March 21st, 2020, following a mutiny against the detention conditions during the pandemic. As overcrowding in prisons is a recurring problem in the country, the government is invited to implement alternative policies to address this issue.

The CAT’s experts expressed their concerns about the lack of reparation for young peaceful protesters who were victims of excessive use of lethal force by security forces. The responsibility for the excessive use of force is mainly attributed to the Mobile Anti-Riot Squadron of the National Police and the National Army.

The CAT also alerted the government to the absence of protection for Venezuelan migrants who suffered torture and abuses during their journey and to the risk of violation of the principle of non-refoulement.

The Committee encouraged the State to complete the process of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention leading to the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism.

Find the CAT’s recommendations here.

Follow-up Recommendations:

The State party should provide information by 12 May 2024 on the implementation of recommendations regarding:

  • the state's response to violence in the context of armed conflict and criminality
  • detention conditions
  • monitoring of places of detention
  • and attacks against human right defenders, social leaders, and journalists

Watch here (part one) and here (part two) the dialogue with the CAT. 

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