The UN Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia has called on the country’s government Friday to choose an ombudsman with “high morals and ethics” in the elections next week.
UN Commissioner Todd Howland sent an open letter to the Colombian House of Representatives, where the new ombudsman will be elected on Tuesday, reminding the politicians of the ombudsman’s important role in promoting and protecting human rights.
“Colombia’s House of Representatives has to make sure that the elected person for this important post has the following characteristics: high ethics and morals, vast knowledge of human rights, proven experience of promoting and protecting human rights as well as being independent to fulfill the role as ombudsman,” Howland said.
According to the UN Commissioner, the ombudsman plays a particularly important role in implementing the Land Restitution Law, a law aimed at appropriating land to victims who were forced to flee their homes as result of Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict.
“The new ombudsman has to understand the different problems victims face and take a decisive role in protecting these victims, especially those that reclaim land,” Howland added.
The House of Representatives will vote for a new ombudsman on Tuesday, ending the eight year-long term of the current Ombudsman Volmar Perez.