Justice for Colombia (JFC) wholeheartedly condemns the violent attack committed against human rights lawyer Gustavo Gallardo in Bogota on 7 August 2019 when his car was fired upon by unidentified attackers.
This is the latest incident in a campaign of harassment, surveillance, stigmatisation and intimidation against members of the lawyers’ collective Fundación Lazos de Dignidad (FLD) for which Mr Gallardo is president.
For over a year, Mr Gallardo, his FLD colleague Nadia Gabriela Triviño López and their families have suffered threats and intimidation as they have been providing legal representation for former guerrillas, including the FARC negotiator Jesús Santrich.
JFC has worked closely with FLD for several years. In August 2018, Mr Gallardo met with a JFC Peace Monitor delegation of British and Irish parliamentarians and trade unionists to discuss the implementation of the peace agreement and the case of Jesús Santrich.
In addition to the attack on Mr Gallardo’s car in which at least two bullets struck the vehicle, on 30 July Ms Triviño López’s car was broken into and important documents were stolen, while the following day her car was followed by another vehicle.
The situation reinforces concerns over the security of legal representatives of FARC members who are in the process of providing testimony to the transitional justice tribunals. Attempts to impede or prevent FLD from exercising its legal duty to defendants undermines the peace process and violates democratic and constitutional norms.
JFC is extremely concerned at FLD’s warning that the Colombian government has not provided effective protective measures for its staff. We urge the government to ensure it carries out all the necessary actions to put those measures in place and to ensure its declarations promote a safe environment for members of the FARC in the reincorporation process and those supporting them on that journey.
JFC offers its full solidarity to Mr Gallardo, Ms Triviño López and all those who face violence, threats and other forms of aggression over their work to defend human rights and build a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.