Suivi Colombie 2010

Q. Has there been a UPR report by one or more national NGOs coalitions in your country?

A. Yes. 

Yes, in the case of Colombia, that report is led/written by the Colombian Commission of Jurists, which invites several national NGOs to share key information on human rights issues. Nevertheless, this kind of “coalition” needs to grow stronger in order to be as much effective as possible.

Q. Have authorities in your country favorably welcomed NGO interventions on the UPR?

A.Not really, the Colombian Government frequently says that all criticisms and shadow reports are to be respected by it has not implemented the civil society recommendations, particularly regarding the UPR.

Q. Do the recommendations by the Human Rights Council reflect those submitted by NGOs? A. The answer would be “partially yes”. There are some recommendations concerning racist practices that have not been / are not taken into account as most ethnic NGOs expect. Q. 4. Have you had the opportunity to contribute to an NGO or NGO coalition report for the UPR? A. Yes, in the last decade we have been in touch with the Colombian Commission of Jurists and provided key information regarding the human rights situation of Afro-descendants throughout the country.

Q. Have you been able to follow the session of the Working Group of the Human Rights Council reviewing your country?

A. Yes. We have relied on several websites that deal with information of the Working Group, particularly the one from the UN.

Q. 2. Have you taken part to activities in your country to present the results of its UPR? A. No, as suggested above, we have shared substantial information on ethnic rights violations but we need to improve the relation with the Colombian Commission of Jurists and other NGOs in order to play a more decisive role in the process, which would help us present (directly) such results.

Q. Have you incorporated UPR and its results for your country in your sensitization, information or human rights and peace education activities?

A. Yes. We take advantage of these results to focus on crucial topics when developing workshops and lecturing at conferences on ethnic (and human) rights, peace education and conflict resolution.

Q. During your activities, do you provide an introduction on international instruments of law ratified and implemented by your country. A. Yes, we always do that, since those international human rights treaties ratified by the Colombian state have the same importance and power of the (National) Constitution, as the Colombian Constitutional Court legally established.

Q. In your country and relating to the implementation and follow-up of UPR, dou you exert some influence ? If yes, briefly describe how. If no, shortly explain why.

A. Yes.

a) In my cilcles. We closely work with several local, national and international NGOs and we take advantage of this fact to spread UPR-related activities, including the implementation and follow-up process. We also promote them through our informal and formal education activities and events.

b) in decision makers Yes. We have developed workshops for government officials who are (policy) decision makers. This is why I would say that we have exerted some influence on them, although it is hard to see them implementing what they learn throughout our workshops and conferences.

Q. Did you ask your country’s competent authorities that human rights be included in school programs and other educational activities ? If yes, briefly describe how.

A.Yes, we have done this by sending institutional letters on this crucial issue to the Ministry of Education and local Secretaries of Education in several cities of the country.

Q. Do you actively participate to sensitization activities in your place of work in order to promote human rights education ? 

A. Yes, we have done this for a decade. We personally develop workshops and round-table discussions on the relevance of human rights education (for ourselves) not only as activists and leaders but as citizens.

Q. Did you get support by the authorities for my efforts in promoting human rights education and awareness about UPR.

A. Sometimes. There is still much work to be done regarding the level of commitment and support of the authorities.

Q. Dou you work in a social and political context which makes it difficult to sensitize/educate on human rights ?

A. Quite often. The Colombian socio-political context is extremely complex. We have an internal armed conflict, drug trafficking-related activities, strong social inequalities and racial discrimination practices against people of indigenous and African ancestry. Moreover, there is a (historical) lack of political will to implement ethnic rights in the country. No doubt this context makes it very difficult to educate on human rights and peace issues at all levels.

Q. 3. Did you get support for intending to introduce UPR and human rights in your activities mainly ?

A. Yes, from pupils/students, parents/colleagues. Our students at the District University of Bogota, who are mainly high school teachers, have actually taught UPR-related information at their schools. Our colleagues and relatives have also spread the UPR and human rights lexicon and approach to their work and informal activities almost on a daily basis, as they have told us in the last couple of years.

Q. Did you encounter resistance to it mainly ?

A. Yes, from government, school authorities , Ministry of Education officials.

Although some changes have been recently made, there is still a strong lack of political will to promote and implement human rights and peace education at the local (municipal), regional (departmental) and national levels.

Q. Are CIFEDHOP’s resources and its network of experts useful for your human rights education and UPR follow-up activities.

A. Very often. We constantly use the CIFEDHOP website in order to be updated on UPR-related issues and the work of EIP colleagues in the Americas and throughout the world. Also, we have heavily relied on materials and information provided during the international training session on the UPR.

Q. What is your personal contributions up to now to human rights education and UPR

A. I have briefly shared information on ethnic (rights) workshops in Colombia.