Lawyers ask EU delegation to act over threats to Colombian human rights defenders

The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) has written to the European Union’s delegation in Colombia over the ongoing human rights crisis in the country.

The ELDH’s intervention follows the latest series of threats made against members of Colombia’s National Movement for Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE). On 10 November, two MOVICE national representatives, Luz Marina Hache Contreras and Luis Alfonso Castillo, and Bogota representative Carmen Mayusa received threats. In addition, on 19 October a MOVICE representative in the Sucre region, Hernando Benítez, survived an assassination attempt.

In 2012, Luis Alfonso Castillo and other Colombian human rights defenders visited Britain as visitors of the Haldane Society, which is affiliated to ELDH and has long campaigned over human rights in Colombia.

In the letter, addressed to the EU delegation’s human rights liaison officer, Anne-Sophie Houée, ELDH Secretary General Thomas Schmidt raised serious concerns over attacks on human rights defenders and previous threats on lawyers working around Colombia’s peace process. Among these concerns are abuses by state security forces, delays in implementation of security mechanisms contained in the peace agreement and government discourse which ‘aim[s] to hide or trivialise the systematic genocide that social leaders are suffering.’

You can read or download the full letter via the link below.