Colombia Caravana

Caravana Delegates in Cucuta

The VII International Caravana of Jurists has released the final report of the August 2022 delegation of lawyers and judges to Colombia. The latest Caravana focused on the need for an independent judiciary and the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders, to confront impunity and guarantee access to justice for all.

The UPDATED English language report is here: UPDATED Colombian-Caravan-Report-Final-EN

Colombia Caravana Final (EN)

LRWC Board Member Heather Neun participated on behalf of LRWC and PBI-Canada and is the report’s lead author. This was her fourth Caravana and fifth visit to Colombia on behalf of LRWC since 2012.

Following the Caravana’s initial meetings in Bogotá, Heather traveled with other lawyers to Cúcuta, a high conflict zone in northeast Colombia. The delegates were hosted by the Colombian women lawyers’ collective known as CCALCP. The other regional delegations to Bucaramanga, Cali, and Cartagena also met with lawyers, justice system operators, and human rights defenders in regions marked by territorial violence. Reconvening in Bogotá, the delegates reported their findings to various state entities and international bodies, among them, the National Protection Unit, the Attorney General’s office, judges in Colombia’s regular and transitional justice systems, and the Office of the UN High Commission on Human Rights.

Chapters 3 and 4 contain compelling case studies of the continued pattern of high-risk situations and attacks against human rights lawyers and defenders, as well as judges and other justice system operators. The report recommends that the current government implements the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, along with the recommendations of the Colombian Truth Commission’s 2022 final report and those contained in a 2021 report on significant structural threats to an independent judiciary and access to justice.

Delegates were again told that the Caravana project has saved lives and helped protect those who ‘defend the defenders’. Caravana participants will continue to accompany their Colombian colleagues as they confront threats, attacks and other impediments to carrying out their vital functions as lawyers. We are grateful to those who contributed financially to LRWC’s participation in this important project.