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Solidarity with the people of Colombia - FIAN International condemns violent attacks on demonstrators

FIAN International strongly condemns the use of excessive force, including lethal force, by Colombian State armed forces in response to mobilizations and protests taking place throughout the country since 28 April.

The reported killings, forced disappearances, sexual violence, arbitrary detentions and attacks, including cyberattacks against the press and human rights organizations are deeply concerning.

On 5 May, when the call for a new day of peaceful protests was made to mobilise the Colombian population throughout the country and was once again cruelly repressed by the State, our national FIAN section in Colombia was victim of a cyber-attack that affected its website.

Behind these protests lie not only claims to scrap the proposed tax reform bill (withdrawn on 2 May) and a reform to privatize even more the health system, but broader human rights demands. Civil society has been denouncing the systematic impunity and violence targeting social, peasant, trade union and indigenous leaders defending human rights and calling for structural reforms, including the full implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.

FIAN International joins the many calls from the international community for the State of Colombia to immediately:

  • Cease the use of excessive and arbitrary force and respect the rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association. The censorship of messages denouncing the State should be immediately ceased;
  • Cease the militarization of cities and of civil protection which is against international human rights standards;
  • Cease all actions by military forces in articulation with armed civil actors, which attack protesters.
  • Stop all stigmatisation and targeting, as well as repressive actions, against indigenous populations mobilised in the protests.
  • Refrain from using the issue of food shortages to generate panic and justify actions that violate human rights.
  • Investigate all cases of excessive and arbitrary use of force and attacks to human rights defenders, including those prior to this year’s protests, by providing sufficient capacities to the National Human Rights Institution and Office of the Attorney General;
  • Enable the visit to Colombia of international independent human rights bodies to support with the monitoring and investigation of these cases;
  • Step up the implementation of all chapters of the 2016 Peace Agreement, especially chapter one on the Integral Rural Reform, in order to combat structural violence, inequalities and hunger and malnutrition.