Amicus Brief Calls for Colombia to Better Protect Journalists

On May 25, 2000, Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya, who was then working for El Espectador, a Colombian newspaper, was kidnapped in front of the Bogotá Model National Prison, where she had gone to conduct an interview. Bedoya was kidnapped for 16 hours, during which time she was subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological violence by her captors, who told her that she was kidnapped due to her journalistic work.

Before being kidnapped, Jineth Bedoya had already been the victim of continuous threats and attacks because of her journalistic work, to the point that she had had to leave the country temporarily in 1998. Although the state authorities knew about these threats, they did not take adequate preventive and protective measures. After her abduction, the preliminary investigation lasted 11 years and was characterized by inactivity, omissions in the collection of key evidence, and repeated re-victimization. Ms. Bedoya became an investigator in her own case out of necessity, due to the lack of diligence and sensitivity from the authorities.

More than 20 years later, three perpetrators have been convicted of the aforementioned events; however, the State has not yet clarified the facts or identified all those responsible.

Furthermore, after surviving the events of May 25, 2000, Jineth Bedoya has continued to be subjected to threats and harassment for her journalistic work and activism, without effective measures being taken to protect her.

Together with the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Ms. Bedoya brought her case to the inter-American system for the protection of human rights, now before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

On April 7, 2021, RFK Human Rights submitted an amicus to the Court in the Bedoya Lima and Other Vs. Colombia case. The Amicus brief was the result of a collaboration with GW Law School and in it, we argue that under international law, the State of Colombia had a reinforced due diligence duty to prevent and to investigate the violence suffered by Ms. Bedoya for being a woman, a journalist, and a human rights defender in the country’s armed conflict context.