Human Rights First

UN Expert Voices Rights Concerns in Colombia

Sept 22--Colombian activists subject to execution, threats, arbitrary detention

22 de septiembre de 2009

An independent United Nations expert voiced serious concerns about “patterns of harassment and persecution” against Colombian human rights activists after an extensive visit to Colombia late Friday. These human rights concerns may influence the prospects of a pending US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), according to Human Rights First, a New York-based international human rights organization.

Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, found that activists were subject to the full gamut of human rights violations including killings, torture, threats and unfounded criminal proceedings and were targeted “because of their legitimate work in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“The Colombian government should end trumped-up criminal charges and unfounded terrorist smear campaigns against activists, and not remain deaf to a growing chorus of international concern,” said Andrew Hudson, Senior Associate at Human Rights First. “A vibrant civil society is critical to strengthening the rule of law in Colombia,” he concluded.
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