By Johnny Crisp
The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) yesterday ratified its 2012 decision to remove Colombia from its human rights “black list.”
This is the first time in over a decade that Colombia has not been included in Chapter IV of the report, which is known as the black list, and signals the need of special human rights attention.
Commenting on the most recent IACHR report and its significance for Colombia, Colombia’s ambassador for the Organization of American States (OAS), Andres Gonzalez stated that the task is far from over.
“We need to persevere in an immense effort to protect vulnerable populations such as the indigenous, Afro-Colombians and women and children stricken by conflict,” said Gonzalez.
The only Latin American countries blacklisted in the report were Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela.
The decision to remove Colombia was taken last year after a week-long visit from IACHR in December.
A detailed report on Colombia is expected to be produced by the IACHR later this year, based on the 2012 visit. It has been reported that Colombia’s removal from the ‘blacklist’ may only be temporary, however, depending on how the human rights situation develops.
Most recently, Colombia has been in the spotlight for its failure to protect land restitution activists, who have continued to be subjected to threats, intimidation and even murder. On April 10, the United Nations condemned the murders of two activists within a two week period, and urged the Colombian government to act.