- 18 September 2009
- UN News Centre
Killings, torture, threats and arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders reportedly by both guerrillas and law officers persist in Colombia, despite the Governmentâ€™s recent efforts to improve their lot, a United Nations expert said today.
â€œMuch remains to be done to ensure a safe and conducive environment for human rights defenders,â€ Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya said in a press release in BogotÃ¡, the capital, at the end of a 12-day mission to the country, which has been wracked by violence between the Government, rebels, paramilitary groups and criminal gangs for over four decades.
Human rights activists, including journalists, trade unionists, magistrates, lawyers, students, women defenders, and indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders â€œhave been killed, tortured, ill-treated, disappeared, threatened, arbitrarily arrested and detained, judicially harassed, under surveillance, forcibly displaced, forced into exile, or their offices have been raided and their files stolen, because of their legitimate work in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms,â€ she added.