The Colombian inspector general’s office expressed on Thursday its opposition to hate crimes and persecution against the gay community and human rights activists.
Hilda Myriam Hoyos Castañeda, deputy attorney general for the rights of children and the family, cited Colombia’s recent communications strategy aimed at sexual and reproductive rights as evidence. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights met for conferences this week in Washington.
Additionally Hoyos expressed her support for human rights leaders and the need for greater vigilance in their protection.
The endorsement of gay rights represents a shift in policy for the inspector general. In 2012 the office of Colombia‘s inspector general applied to nullify a ruling which required Congress to legislate on gay marriage after colombia’s Constitutional Court court ruled that homosexual partners currently lack certain rights afforded to heterosexual partners.
The court instructed Congress to pass a remedy through “comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation” by June 20, 2013 to address the imbalance. If Congress does not pass legislation in that time, homosexual couples will be permitted to go before a notary or a court to have their partnership recognized.
In the past NGOs have accused the inspector general of persecuting advocates of sexual and reproductive rights. Ariadna Tovar, a lawyer for Women Link Worldwide, one of NGOs critical of the Colombian government, said that the inspector general not only lacks impartiality, but “abuses its power” to pursue human rights defenders.
As Colombia strives to join the international community what activists believe to be outdated stances on human rights issues have been changed in government policy and press communications. It remains to be seen if these policies will be backed up by measurable action.
In general Colombia lacks an effective policy for dealing with threats towards human rights activists which means impunity for those who supress or attack human rights defenders.