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Colombia: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Columbia (A/HRC/40/3/Add.3)

Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Colombia
Human Rights Council
Fortieth session
25 February–22 March 2019
Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Situation of human rights in Colombia Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ** Summary In the present report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights describes the human rights situation in Colombia with regard to democracy, security, development, civic participation and peace in 2018, and highlights some of the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) in the country. In particular, the High Commissioner stresses the importance of guaranteeing human rights as a pathway to achieving sustainable and lasting peace. The report also contains an assessment by OHCHR of the second year of implementation of the human rights aspects of the peace agreement signed between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). The High Commissioner highlights the specific challenges to defending human rights, the fight against impunity and corruption, the upsurge of violence and the need to address disparities in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in rural areas. Annex Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Columbia I. Introduction The present report, based on the direct monitoring activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the situation of human rights in Colombia and submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/141, covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2018. In the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, the peace agreement signed between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), the parties requested OHCHR to include in its annual report on Colombia its findings on the human rights impact of the implementation of the agreement. The present report contains findings on the second year of implementation from a human rights perspective. By fully implementing the peace agreement, the State has a historic opportunity to make positive and sustainable structural changes to the population’s access to and enjoyment of human rights. OHCHR calls upon the parties to increase their efforts to advance the implementation of all sections of the peace agreement, as there can be no turning back. Trust must continue to be built between the parties and within society in Colombia, especially for victims. The Government elected for the period 2018–2022 will have the historic responsibility to continue to implement the peace agreement and to build an equitable, peaceful country, where full access to human rights is guaranteed to all Colombians. OHCHR calls upon the Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to observe international humanitarian law, and urges ELN to abstain from hostage-taking, which international humanitarian law prohibits. OHCHR also invites the parties to reach a bilateral ceasefire agreement in order to continue to build the trust necessary to resume peace talks. That would improve the human rights situation of communities affected by both the hostilities and the lack of economic, social and political inclusion. It is encouraging that, during the 2018 presidential election campaign, Iván Duque, who was elected President, committed to a social pact for human rights, promoted by OHCHR. The pact reiterates the obligation to protect, respect and guarantee human rights, promoting inclusion especially for people in those areas most affected by the conflict and violence and guaranteeing the effective realization of their civil, political and economic, social and cultural rights. OHCHR recognizes the steps taken by the Government to formulate a national action plan on human rights. The plan should strengthen the Government’s preventive approach, incorporate gender and ethnic perspectives and address the regional situation. In order to guarantee the effective implementation of the plan, Colombia should set out indicators based on international standards and a process of evaluation and accountability. OHCHR reiterates its commitment to working with the State and with civil society in Colombia, in accordance with its mandate, and to engaging in continuous dialogue with all of its counterparts to help to prevent human rights violations. OHCHR will maintain its presence around the country to reach the most remote communities affected by the conflict and violence. In 2018, the Office conducted 1,339 field missions. OHCHR recalls that it depends primarily on voluntary contributions and that, despite the additional responsibilities assigned by the peace agreement, 2018 was the second consecutive year it did not receive additional resources. OHCHR appreciates the willingness of the new Government to agree to international oversight, which will allow it to take actions to improve the human rights situation in the country. It welcomes the visits by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders from 20 November to 3 December 2018, and by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights from 27 to 30 November.


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