Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Human Rights in Colombia: Past and Present

On Friday, the IEDP Human Rights group (pictured below) presented an overview of historical and contemporary challenges pertaining to human rights in Colombia. The group presentation was a prelude to a conversation with Moira Birss from Peace Brigades International - an organization that works to assist and advocate for human rights defenders.

The group first overviewed human rights reporting and documentation of human rights abuses and violations by quasi-state and state actors. The group then traced human rights abuses by paramilitaries and left-wing insurgencies, as well as the legal framework that facilitated impunity. In 1994, the demobilization process officially started and culminated in the codification of Law 975 (Justice and Peace Law). The group explored the origins of the law, the resulting procedural and institutional reforms, and enduring problems with human rights and reparations. In this regard, the Colombian truth and reconciliation process was compared to other Latin American initiatives. Finally, the group introduced the historical memory (Memoria Historica) project and emblematic cases.

Moira Birss, as guest speaker, provided further clarification of the nature and history of human rights problems in the country, including land reform and rehabilitation, environmental justice, and economic rights. She highlighted the realities of and challenges for human rights work in Colombia, and the role of the now defunct agencies in impeding progress in this context. Ms. Birss also highlighted the work of NGOs and landmark achievements in human rights advocacy in Colombia.

No comments:

Post a Comment