- Colombia is one of the priority countries for Catalan development cooperation, and 12 of the 19 participants in the Catalan Programme for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are Colombian
event_note Press Release
The Government of Catalonia has approved a direct grant of 400,000 euros to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to improve prevention, protection and investigation mechanisms for human rights defenders in Colombia.
The project, financed through the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD), will help to enhance the protection of human rights defenders and support OHCHR’s observation and technical assistance work in Colombia.
The action will be carried out with Colombian institutions and human rights defenders to strengthen the State’s response regarding prevention, protection and investigation actions involving human rights defenders. These are fundamental pillars to guarantee a safe and favourable environment in which to exercise the right to defend human rights in Colombia.
OHCHR’s mission is to promote human rights worldwide. In Colombia, the Office has the specific functions of observing and monitoring the human rights situation and ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law in the country, as well as advising the Colombian Government, the country’s institutions, civil society and citizens on human rights and offering them technical collaboration, as well as informing on and promoting human rights.
The Government of Catalonia, committed to the protection of human rights defenders
The Catalan Government has made various contributions to the OHCHR between 2019 and 2022 through the ACCD. This collaboration has also contributed to strengthening the Agency’s work strategy in this area, which is a priority for the Master Plan for Development Cooperation 2023-2026.
The ACCD’s work with OHCHR Colombia also allows them to monitor the security status of individual cases of human rights defenders who have participated in the Catalan Programme for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders once they return to Colombia. Precisely, 12 of the 19 participants in this programme promoted by the Catalan Government since 2017 are Colombians.
Colombia, a priority country for Catalan cooperation
Colombia was one of the first priority countries for the Catalan Government’s development cooperation. This sustained support comes from Catalan society’s commitment to the country, conveyed through a wide range of actors (NGOs, academia, trade unions, professional associations), and the active participation of the diaspora and organisations of exiles and Catalans of Colombian origin.
Despite the progress made, and although the political and social context opens up a new opportunity for the guarantee of human rights and the implementation of the peace agreements, high levels of violence against human rights defenders in Colombia continued throughout 2022. The OHCHR verified 116 defenders murdered this year, 73% of whom were killed by non-state armed groups. In this context, the report highlights as positive the emergency plan proposed by civil society and adopted by the Colombian Government in 6 capital cities and 65 prioritised municipalities.