UN Office for Human Rights condemns threats against human rights defenders
News from Colombia |
on: Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Bogota, 5 July 2012
The Colombia Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights vehemently condemns the new threats against human rights defenders in Colombia, and against those reclaiming their land.
The Office knew on 4th July of a leaflet signed by the self-described “anti-restitution army” in which the group threatens with death several human rights defenders and accuses them – according to the leaflet- of “taking land from good citizens to give it to guerrillas”.
The Office reminds them that the defence of human rights is a not only legitimate work, but is also indispensable in a democracy.
“Defenders should not only be protected by the State but also respected by all people in a country, as their work is fundamental in order to arrive at the complete fulfilment of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. The UN supports and values their work” said Todd Howland, Representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, rejecting the threats.
The Office also reminds them that the restitution of land is a mechanism of reparation for serious human rights violations and that thousands of people in Colombia were assassinated, disappeared, threatened and displaced from their territories in recent years. These victims have the right to the restitution of their land and in addition to integral reparation. To impede them from reclaiming these rights is not only illegitimate but also an attack against the rights of thousands of Colombians.
The Office urges the State to investigate, judge and sanction the authors of the death threats against human rights defenders and those reclaiming their land.
The Office invites all people in Colombia to act in solidarity and to support work in defence of human rights, as part of a democratic culture that permits the development of the country and its path towards peace.