Colombia’s representatives in the Organization of American States (OAS) on Friday criticised a report by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) which places Colombia on a “blacklist” of countries that fail to protect rights, Colombian media reported Friday.
Colombia’s ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, said in a statement that his country “maintains a policy of zero tolerance in the face of all forms of crime.”
The official said the IACHR report was an opportunity to highlight Colombia’s efforts to “ensure respect and guarantee human rights of Colombians,” in particular by “protecting women and girls from the effects of the violence perpetrated by armed groups outside the law.”
Hoyos said that the government’s implementation of hardline “democratic security” policies, to combat illegal armed groups, was evidence that the country had made advances in preventing violence and promoting freedom.
The IACHR’s report notes that Colombia has made progress since 2006 in protecting the rights of women, especially those who have been displaced from their homes by violence, the ambassador pointed out.
Hoyos also highlighted work done to promote press freedom in the country, arguing that “the recovery of the monopoly of force by the state and the weakening of organized armed groups outside the law, has meant that journalists have a new environment that facilitates the free exercise of their profession and the expression of opinion.”
The report released Thursday by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights criticized Colombia’s rights record, and included it on a list of countries which do not respect basic human rights.