The removal of Colombia from the “blacklist” of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), previously celebrated by president Juan Manuel Santos, actually signals an increase in scrutiny, according to experts.
Commissioner for the IACHR Felipe Gonzales said in an interview that Colombia would now be subject to a special report by the IACHR, which will make recommendations that the government will have to comply with by 2014 in order to remain off the so-called blacklist.
In an interview with Colombia Reports Adam Isacson, director of the Regional Security Policy Program at Washington Office on Latin America, confirmed that this special report may actually “increase scrutiny” in the country.
He also pointed out that Colombia was not included in Chapter IV of the IACHR’s annual report, also known as the “blacklist”, until 12 years ago, post-dating many of the country’s worst human rights abuses.
He said. “some key measures of human rights abuses attributed to military and police – such as extrajudicial executions and torture – have fallen.”
President Santos on Friday greeted the removal from the blacklist as a signal of Colombia’s great progress on human rights.
But in a statement to Colombia Reports, a group of leading Colombian human rights lawyers the Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo said that the idea of being off or on a “blacklist” was incorrect, and that the IACHR is in fact showing serious concern over the human rights situation in the country.
“Colombia merits being in Chapter IV, and the [upcoming] report on the situation of human rights, rather than clearing the country of its history of human rights abuses, will be a comprehensive analysis of the situation and make recommendations to overcome the most serious violations,” said the statement.
The Colectivo de Abogados said the proposed reform to the military code, about which the IACHR expressed grave concerns, will be a “key test of whether the country intends to honor its commitments under international law.”