On 10 February 2020 Patrick Grady MP tabled an early day motion (EDM) in parliament on the critical situation in Colombia for human rights defenders.
The EDM reads:
That this House is concerned by the slow implementation of many areas of the Peace Accord in Colombia, including rural reform, crop substitution and victims’ rights to justice which lie at the root of the conflict, as well as the often disproportionate use of force by officials in response to social protest; notes with alarm that areas vacated by the FARC have been filled by other illegal armed groups and militarised more generally, resulting in local populations being marginalised and threatened; urges the Colombian Government to comply with Resolution 1190/2018 of the Ministry of the Interior when addressing social protest, to seriously consider making the National Police accountable to civilian authorities rather than the Ministry of Defence, to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of on-going attacks and killings of social leaders and human rights defenders, and to implement all elements of the Peace Accord, as well as territorial development plans (PDETs); and calls on the Government to closely monitor spending by the Colombian Government of the UK’s funding for the implementation of the Peace Accord, to continue playing a key role on the UN Security Council on Colombia, including with the Verification Mission, whose mandate should be renewed for a further three years, and to continue supporting the Colombian Government and civil society in fully implementing the Peace Accord to achieve a sustainable peace.
Unfortunately, since the signing of the Peace Accord there has been a systematic pattern in the profiles of human rights defenders being killed, namely leaders associated with activities in defence of land and the environment, and those working on the implementation of the Peace Accord in the rural areas. We hope that this early day motion can send a strong message and contribute to protecting those Colombian human rights defenders who still face threats as we begin 2020.