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6 May 2021 | Updated on 18 June 2021

Militarisation in Colombia’s main cities and the brutal repression by the police and military forces directly threaten human rights and the well-being of civil society in the country, according to a statement signed by more than 40 international human rights organisations.

According to reports from human rights organisation Temblores, between 28 April and 4 May 2021 there were reports of almost 1,500 cases of police violence in Colombia, as well as numerous reports of disappearances of participants in the mobilisations, arbitrary detentions, victims of physical violence, some resulting in ocular injuries, victims of homicidal violence and sexual assault cases by the police forces.

“The Colombian state has the obligation to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the rights to freedom of assembly and association and freedom of speech, on the internet and on the streets,” organisations including the Association for Progressive Communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ARTICLE 19, Privacy International and many others have said.

Specifically, the organisations demand that the government of Colombia:

  • Immediately stop the excessive use of force on the part of the police and the army, to end repression and comply with its responsibility to guarantee the right to protest.

  • Assure the free flow of information so that independent media and citizens can do their work of covering the protests without obstructions. Reinforce the rights of civilians so that they can use digital technology, which allows them to exercise their right to protest, online and offline. 

  • Guarantee that the application of exceptional measures is carried out in compliance with international and national human rights norms and in accordance with the principles of proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination. 

  • Investigate the events related to the use of force by state security agents, following the call of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

More information
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