UPR – COLOMBIA
Norway thanks the delegation of Colombia for the presentation of the very comprehensive national report.
We appreciate the broad process of consultation on the National Report. Let me also express that we are very impressed by the engagement by the national civil society in preparing for this review.
Norway welcomes the high level of ratification of human rights treaties and the cooperation with the UN Human Rights system, including through issuing standing invitation to the Special Procedures and through cooperating closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In para 78 of the national report you state that human rights defenders have played an important role in fostering a culture of human rights, restitution for victims and stiffer domestic standards. We welcome and support this message. We do, however, continue to be concerned about the situation for human rights defenders in Colombia.
When the High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Colombia in October/November this year, she expressed concern at the vulnerability of human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists and public officials who are stigmatized and often targeted or threatened for their work. We share this concern and would recommend that the Government at the highest level forcefully denounce attacks against human rights defenders and that State authorities give human rights defenders legitimacy and recognition through supportive statements. This will in our view effectively counter a climate of hostility that could lead to a further increase in violence against human rights defenders.
Further, it is important to apply concrete and concerted measures in order to stop impunity for crimes and violations committed against human rights defenders. We recommend that crimes and violations against human rights defenders are effectively investigated and prosecuted, and that those responsible are punished.