Colombia - Country of Concern: latest update, 30 September 2014
|Publisher||United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office|
|Publication Date||30 September 2014|
|Related Document(s)||Colombia - Country of Concern: latest update, 30 June 2014|
|Cite as||United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Colombia - Country of Concern: latest update, 30 September 2014, 30 September 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/54c644fb4.html [accessed 22 September 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The human rights situation in Colombia has remained broadly unchanged in the last three months. Colombia held its Presidential elections in May and June, and President Santos was elected to a second term, promising to prioritise bringing the peace process to a conclusion. Santos won the Presidential election with 50.9% of the vote, beating Zuluaga by 6%. Observers assessed the elections were free and fair. He told voters that the end of the conflict was close and warned the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) to approach the negotiations seriously. He supported a just peace, without impunity. Santos will face a great deal of pressure to deliver what he has promised to diverse sectors of the Colombian public. This will require him to reconcile the expectations of the left, the media, the LGBTI community, women's groups, NGOs, civil society, and the business community.
On 16 May 2014, the Colombian government and the FARC announced an agreement on the issue of illicit drugs and drug trafficking in Havana, the third of six agenda items in the ongoing peace talks. This was followed by a joint statement on 7 June on the rights of victims to truth, justice, and reparation. For the first time, the FARC acknowledged their victims of the conflict. The parties stated ten guiding principles for the discussion of the fifth point on the agenda (on rights of victims), and agreed to receive a 15-member delegation to represent victims in Havana during the negotiation of this chapter. These principles are: recognising victims; recognising responsibility; satisfaction of the human rights of victims; victim participation; clarification of the truth; compensation for victims; guarantee of protection and security measures for victims; guarantee of no repetition of the conflict; the start of reconciliation; and a focus on rights.
The Minister for Latin America, Hugo Swire, visited Colombia on 25-27 June, where he met members from six human rights organisations as well as demobilised former combatants. Mr Swire raised the importance of promoting human rights and providing security for human rights defenders with Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs Carlos Morales and Patti Londoño, and also raised a number of specific cases with them. He also met the heads of the National Protection Unit, Presidential Human Rights Programme and Victims Unit.
Colombian civil society was strongly represented at the Global Summit to on EndSexual Violence in Conflict in London in June. The British Embassy hosted a local event and developed a "Time To Act" photo campaign in partnership with Jineth Bedoya from El Tiempo (Colombia's most popular daily newspaper). There was no official Colombian government representation at the summit, but a new law signed by President Santos on 18 June recognised the importance of dealing with cases of sexual violence in conflict, and recognised sexual violence in conflict as a crime against humanity. A new embassy-funded project to implement the International Protocol on the Documentation of Sexual Violence was approved and will be implemented in July.