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At a glance

The current situation in Colombia is characterized by obstacles to the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). The change in the national security policy and the treatment of the conflict by the new government headed by President Iván Duque have exacerbated the armed conflict and the attacks on the civilian population, not only because of the presence of illegal armed groups, but also because of the high militarization of the affected regions, which has influenced the increase in attacks against social leaders throughout the country. There is also a prison emergency which has been recognized by the authorities since 2012.

Additionally, the introduction of different Bills that sought to make changes in social policies at end 2019 prompted massive citizen mobilisation throughout the country. Although most protests were peaceful, they were often met with an excessive response by the State. The OMCT has worked in Colombia for many years, together with SOS-Torture Network member Coalición Colombiana contra la Tortura, to monitor the cycle of review of the country by the Committee Against Torture (CAT), but also to make visible the improper use of institutions in trying to silence the defense of human rights. The extensive work of the OMCT to document attacks on human rights defenders and social leaders led to the publication of a report at the end of 2019, to the report (in Spanish) “Criminalization of the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia”. Also worth mentioning is the work in relation to the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition, to make visible the patterns of torture in the armed conflict as well as the work carried out to document the excessive use of force during the latest social protests.

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