Colombia dropped from human rights ‘blacklist’

The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) on April 16 ratified its 2012 decision to remove Colombia from its human rights “black list.” This is the first time in over a decade that Colombia has not been included in Chapter IV of the annual report, which lists countries in need of special human rights attention. Commenting on the new report, Colombia’s ambassador for the Organization of American States (OAS), Andres González stated that the task is far from over. “We need to persevere in an immense effort to protect vulnerable populations such as the indigenous, Afro-Colombians and women and children stricken by conflict,” said Gonzalez. The only Latin American countries blacklisted in the new report are Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela. (Colombia Reports, April 17)

But Colombia remains under scrutiny by international rights monitors, who especially note a new wave of violence in recent weeks against land restitution activists. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently spoke out against the murder of Ever Cordero Oviedo, who worked for land restitution with the Fundación Forjando Futuros in the municipality of Valencia, Córdoba department.  Cordero was killed April 9 by two armed assassins on a motorcycle while on his way to meet with land restitution claimants.  The UN urged the Colombian authorities “to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for this crime and other crimes in recent years, because overcoming impunity is imperative to achieving real protection for victims.” (Colombia Reports, April 10)