The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has called on the Colombian government to investigate the threats and aggressions against human rights defenders and to provide them with better protection.
Following the assassination of displaced leader Ana Fabricia Cordoba, the international body condemned the murder and expressed concern about the threats against various other human rights defenders in Colombia in a press release published Monday.
The IACHR said that “one of the first steps to effectively protect human rights defenders is to publicly recognize the legitimacy of their work,” stating that “in many cases, such as with Ana Fabricia Cordoba, the death of human rights defenders is preceded by threats that were reported to the authorities.”
The organization demanded that the Colombian government guarantee the right to life, integrity and security of the family members of the assassinated leader and for all of Colombia’s human rights defenders, particularly those that have received threats, and to find and punish those responsible for Cordoba’s murder.
“The [Colombian] state should carry out a comprehensive and systematic investigation of the threat with respect to all the organizations and individuals [who are threatened],” said the commission.
Finally, the IACHR communique states that attacks on human rights defenders impede the existence of a democratic society, stating that, “the work of human rights defenders is critical to building a solid, lasting democratic society and to fully attaining the rule of law.”