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Colombia: Human Rights Watch requests Constitutional Court to engage in periodic monitoring of attacks against human rights defenders

“Amicus brief on killings of human rights defenders in Colombia”, 20 April 2021

...Human Rights Watch respectfully requests that the Colombian Constitutional Court accept this submission and consider its factual and legal arguments, which are relevant to the court’s assessment of this case...The high number of killings and abuses against human rights defenders in Colombia raise very serious concerns...The limited state presence in many, mostly rural, areas means social organizations—including Neighborhood Action Committees, Afro-Colombian community councils, and Indigenous groups—often play a prominent role in performing tasks typically assigned to local government officials, including protecting at-risk populations and promoting government plans. This increases the visibility of the social organizations’ leaders, including human rights defenders, exposing them to risks...More than 450 human rights defenders have been killed nationwide in Colombia since 2016…These killings have been most common in areas with lack of state presence, and high levels of poverty and illegal economies, including drug trafficking and production, illegal mining, extortion, illegal logging, and smuggling...The Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Office has registered 2,829 threats against human rights defenders occurring between January 2016 and June 2020...For the abovementioned reasons, we ask this Honorable Court to: Accept Human Rights Watch as a Friend of the Court in this case; Take into account the facts, arguments and international standards presented in this brief when evaluating this case; andGrant the petitioners’ request to conduct periodic monitoring of the actions taken by Colombian authorities to address this situation...