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In Support of Colombian Protection Action for Human Rights Defenders

4/28/2021Staff Article

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International Service for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders, (the Center for Information on Business and Human Rights, CIVICUS, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights presented an amicus brief on the right to defend human rights as an autonomous right before the Colombian Constitutional Court on April 21, 2021. Colombia is the most deadly country for human rights defenders, with 177 defenders killed in 2020 alone.

Brought by Colombian organization Dejusticia, the tutela (protection) action was filed in December 2019 on behalf of 189 activists, the majority of whom are victims of the country’s armed conflict, to require the Colombian government to guarantee their right to defend human rights. The case is currently before the Constitutional Court, the highest constitutional authority of the country, after decisions affirming the right to defend rights at both the Civil Circuit Court and the Superior Tribunal of Bogotá levels. The Constitutional Court’s decision could mandate the activation of legal mechanisms for the effective protection of social leaders and human rights defenders that the State has not yet enforced and require monitoring of State compliance.

The amicus brief presents arguments from international and regional human rights standards, with special emphasis on the Inter-American system, on the right to defend human rights as an autonomous right, the State obligations that derive from that right, and the general guidelines provided by international standards to create effective protection measures for human rights defenders.

Read the brief in Spanish here.