(I’m spending Friday at a conference at Syracuse University. Meanwhile, we’re pleased to help get the word out about this important hearing Tuesday afternoon with Margaret Sekaggya, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Read the statement from her September visit to Colombia, when she found that “patterns of harassment and persecution against human rights defenders, and often their families, continue to exist in Colombia.”)
Commission Hearing Announcement
Human Rights Defenders in the Crosshairs:
The Ongoing Crisis in Colombia
UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Tuesday, October 20
2Â - 3:30 p.m.
The ongoing 44-year-old armed conflict in Colombia has created one of the worlds most dangerous environments for human rights defenders, social leaders, labor activists, and journalists, despite some protection efforts by the Colombian government. During last year’s Universal Periodic Human Rights Review of Colombia at the United Nations, the subsequent Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Colombia (A/HRC/10/82; Jan. 9, 2009) reflected the global concern regarding extra-judicial killings and disappearances of individuals.
Recognizing the dangers that human rights defenders face from paramilitary, guerilla fighters and drug lords, the working group recommended that the Colombian government fully implement Presidential Directive 7 of 1999, and give stronger and unambiguous public recognition and support to human rights defenders.Â The recommendations also included sanctioning those who make unsubstantiated allegations against human rights defenders and strengthening the protection program for NGO representatives. The report further recommended that the Colombian government fully investigate and punish crimes against human rights defenders to end the climate of impunity and called for the visits of all relevant human rights rapporteurs to Colombia.
Margaret Sekaggya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and former head of the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, visited Colombia last month from September 7-18 and met with the Uribe government, civil society, judicial institutions, diplomatic delegations, and authorities in Bogota, Barranquilla, MedellÃn, Cali and Arauca. Ms. Sekaggya will be joined by other human rights experts to present and discuss the findings of her trip.
Principe Gabriel Gonzalez Arango, Colombian Political Prisoners Solidarity CommitteeÂ·
Reynaldo Villalba Vargas, President, JosÃ© Alvear Restrepo Lawyer’s CollectiveÂ·
- Andrew Hudson, Manager, Human Rights Defenders Program, Human Rights First
- Kelly Nicholls, Executive Director, U.S. Office on Colombia.
If you have any questions regarding this hearing, please contact Hans Hogrefe (Rep. McGovern) or Elizabeth Hoffman (Rep. Wolf) at (202) 225-3599.
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.