The Campaign Defending Freedom: Everyone’s Business – CDLAT, presents the report «The risk of defending freedom in the streets», which reports on attacks on human rights defenders during the National Strike, which began on April 28th in Colombia.

The work carried out by the Civil Society Verification and Intervention Commissions -CVI, through dialogue with the authorities and the collection of information on police violence and abuse, arbitrary detentions, personal injuries and other aggressions in the context of social protest, has made it possible to register cases, make public complaints, provide legal assistance and strategic litigation and advocacy actions with the aim of demanding the guarantee of the satisfactory exercise of social protest and other human rights in the context of social protest.

In this sense, the CVIs are tools used by civil society for the promotion and protection of human rights in different types of mobilization, involving accompaniment and monitoring of guarantees that the authorities must provide for the exercising of the right to social protest. Both CDLAT and the human rights defenders who are members of the Campaign and/or different CVIs have positioned themselves as a national and territorial reference points for the exercising of the defense of human rights in this framework.

In accordance with the above, and with the objective of observing targeted and intentional violence perpetrated by the security forces against human rights defenders in the context of social protest, the report «The risk of defending freedom in the streets» will initially present a general context of the aggressions suffered by human rights defenders at the national level, followed by a specific analysis of what happens in some regions and areas. The report will share cases of targeted actions by the security forces against certain individuals, highlighting the risks faced by human rights defenders in social protest scenarios.

Second, the main human rights violations against human rights defenders in Colombia in the framework of the National Strike that began on April 28, 2021 will be presented in a preliminary and concise manner. These include:

  • Homicides
  • Personal injuries
  • Gender-based violence (GBV)
  • Stigmatization
  • Judicialization and arbitrary detentions.

Some representative cases of these aggressions in different territories of Colombia are reviewed in this section. These violations have occurred in cities including Bogotá D.C., Cali – Valle del Cauca, Popayán – Cauca, Pasto – Nariño, Barranquilla – Atlántico, Cundinamarca, Pereira – Risaralda, Bucaramanga – Santander, Medellín – Antioquia, Manizales – Caldas, Tunja – Boyacá, Ibagué – Tolima, Puerto Asís – Putumayo, Cúcuta – Norte de Santander and Villavicencio – Meta. The responsibility of different actors in the aggressions recorded is indicated. In all of these categories the primary actor perpetrating these acts is the Colombian State.

Finally, we will share some brief conclusions related to the different sections of this report, as well as a series of requests aimed at facilitating the work of international human rights law bodies and urging the Colombian State – once again – to respect the work of human rights defenders. This report has a public and a private version that was sent to the Special Rapporteur for Women Human Rights Defenders of the United Nations, as well as to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); within the confidential information there are two annexes detailing the seriousness of the aggressions that we, women human rights defenders, have suffered during this National Strike 2021.

Read the full report here.