On December 20th 2017 Ann Clwyd MP tabled an early day motion (EDM) in parliament on the critical situation in Colombia for human rights defenders. This statement comes after the killings of prominent land rights defenders Mario Castaño Bravo and Hernán Bedoya at the end of 2017. The EDM reads:
That this House notes with concern the increased risks faced by human rights defenders and community leaders in Colombia since the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, and in particular the recent killings of land restitution leaders, Mario Castaño Bravo and Hernán Bedoya; is deeply disturbed that according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 78 defenders have been killed in the first 11 months of this year; further notes the vital importance of the work of human rights defenders in Colombia, and elsewhere; and calls on the Government to strengthen its efforts, bilaterally and through the EU, to protect human rights defenders and civil society leaders in Colombia, and to support and monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/718
In this respect PBI insists upon the urgent need to dismantle the structures responsible for these crimes; including detailed investigation and analysis into the relations between third party economic interests and land restitution, and their alignment with illegal armed structures as well as the persistence of drug trafficking routes. Although there have been advances in a few judicial cases against businessmen linked to paramiltarism in the region, it is imperative that these advances are echoed in clarifying responsibility in the totality of the cases from the Bajo Atrato, considering the high vulnerability of the rural communities. Without an effective investigation and sanctioning of the material and intellectual authors of the attacks against groups and people who defend their territory, the protection of human rights defenders and guarantees of non-repetition cannot be assured.
See PBI Colombia's Public Statement in full: https://pbicolombia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/PBI-Public-Pronuncemnet-12-December-2017.pdf