Colombia: OAS member states must not remain silent in the face of the human rights crisis

Member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) should condemn the human rights violations and crimes under international law committed by members of the Colombian security forces, Amnesty International said today in an open letter.

“The international community cannot be a mere spectator to the grave human rights crisis in Colombia. The principle of shared responsibility for guaranteeing human rights requires member states of the OAS to take action,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

In the letter sent to OAS member states, Amnesty International expresses its concern about their silence so far on the situation in Colombia. 

Since the beginning of the demonstrations on 28 April, Amnesty International has been constantly monitoring of the human rights situation in Colombia. To date, Colombian civil society organizations estimate that 43 people have lost their lives at the hands of the security forces, in addition to 1,445 cases of arbitrary detentions, 47 people with eye injuries, and 22 cases of sexual violence, among other incidents.  

The international community cannot be a mere spectator to the grave human rights crisis in Colombia.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

There have been constant reports of human rights violations and violence perpetrated by armed civilians, often in collusion with the police, against protesters. In Cali, a city that has become one of the epicenters of the demonstrations, since Friday, 28 May, 14 people have reportedly been killed and 98 injured in the context of repression and violence. 

“In light of the multiple human rights violations denounced in Cali and other places this weekend, President Ivan Duque’s militarized response sends a wrong and complacent message that human rights violations will be tolerated,” concluded Erika Guevara-Rosas.

Given that the OAS is the preeminent multilateral forum of the Americas, Amnesty International calls on it to take all the necessary steps, at the highest levels, to ensure that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights obtains the consent of the Colombian authorities to carry out an on-site visit and, subsequently reports to the political bodies of the OAS. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org