Justice for Colombia statement on deportation of Diego Martinez

Justice for Colombia (JFC) condemns in the strongest terms the treatment of Human Rights lawyer Diego Martinez, who was deported from Argentina on Monday after reportedly being placed on an international alert list by Colombia authorities.

Martinez played a key role in developing Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement, codesigning the chapter on victims and transitional justice. He was previously head of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights (CPDH), one of Colombia’s oldest human rights organisations, which provides legal support to trade unions, including members jailed on false charges. He has repeatedly faced security threats over his work. In October 2018, a paramilitary group threatened to kill his family and has received further threats since.

According to the CPDH, Martinez travelled to Buenos Aires on July 11 to act as a defence attorney for a former FARC combatant detained in Argentina. Upon arrival, he was immediately intercepted by Argentinian border agents and forcibly returned to Colombia in apparent compliance with an international alert issued by Colombian authorities.

The decision to target Martinez in this way is clearly a politically motivated attempt to stigmatise and obstruct those working to secure the future of Colombia’s peace agreement

JFC therefore calls on the Colombian authorities to immediately withdraw Martinez’s name from the international alert system and provide guarantees that he will be able to continue his work without interference.

JFC alongside the British and Irish trade union movements will continue to monitor closely the treatment of Martinez and all those working to support peace and human rights in Colombia.

Justice for Colombia

London, 15 July 2022