Campaign for the Right to Defend Human Rights  


Colombian and International Campaign for the Right to Defend Human Rights in Colombia


What was the Campaign?

On 9 September 2009, a national and international campaign for the protection of Colombia's human rights defenders was launched in Bogotá by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya. The campaign addresses five key areas where change is needed in order to improve guarantees and protection for defenders:


1. Impunity in cases involving defenders.

2. Misuse of State Intelligence against defenders.

3. Systematic stigmatization of defenders by government officials.

4. Unfounded criminal proceedings brought against defenders.

5. Problems with the protection program for defenders at risk.


A number of Colombian, US, UK and European organisations worked together to develop a Declaration containing the key messages of the campaign and key Recommendations for policy changes on the five issues addressed above.


Read the Declaration  

Read the Recommendations


Some of the NGOs involved in the campaign:

Human Rights First, US Office on Colombia, Christian Aid, International Office for Human Rights - Action on colombia (OIDHACO), ABColombia (Oxfam GB, CAFOD, Trocaire, SCIAF, Christian Aid UKI), Plataforma de Organizaciones de Desarrollo Europeas en Colombia (PODEC) and DIAL.




In Colombia the Campaign released a series of short bulletins accompanied by case studies.  Read them here


ABColombia, Oidhaco and the U.S. Office on Colombia developed a joint report to support the campaign.  The report contains emblematic case studies which highlight the 5 key issues of concern:

Download the report here




Defending human rights is a moral responsibility aimed at saving lives, preventing grave human rights violations and ensuring that violence does not remain in impunity.  Defenders seek to strengthen the rule of law and call for changes in government and state policies.
Sadly, in Colombia being a human rights defender is a dangerous, often deadly job.


Watch a video interview, by ABColombia member Christian Aid, with Kelly Nicholls from the US Office on Colombia talking about the  campaign.







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