Colombia: Protecting Access to Justice, Report of the Third International Caravana to Colombia, 21 May 2013 | Report

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The report of the third Colombia Carvana contains the findings of the delegation of lawyers and judges who visited Colombia in August 2012 to for the purposes of: investigating risks faced by judges, lawyers and other human rights defenders in Colombia, providing support and making remedial recommendations. The report identifies grave risks,

The most serious concern for the Caravana is that threats, attacks, persecution and the killing of lawyers continue. Lawyers are hampered in their work by having to defend spurious proceedings against themselves and by burglaries of their offices, and cyber-attacks on websites and vandalism of their office equipment. The legacy of the surveillance by the state intelligence agency (DAS, Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) has interfered with the protective measures which some lawyers should receive. In addition to the problems of state interference in their work are the risks that many lawyers face of physical violence and possible assassination. The lawyers most at risk work with clients such as political prisoners, those with problems related to the use of or rights to land, those accused of collaborating with the guerrillas, and representatives of minority or repressed communities.

Recommendations of the Colombia Caravana include: public acknowledgment by government officials of the valuable role of judges, lawyers and other human rights defenders; increased resources for judges and human rights advocates; and, stepped-up efforts to provide adequate protective and ensure identification of perpetrators through effective investigations and prosecutions.