The International Observation Mission on Guarantees for Social Protests and against Impunity in Colombia—Mission SOS Colombia—made up by 41 international delegates from 12 countries and which visited 11 regions of Colombia between the 3rd and 12th of July 2021, presents its final report. The Mission SOS Colombia contends that the events that took place in Colombia during the latest social protests cannot be seen solely as the disproportionate use of force by state security forces, but instead that those who practiced their right to social protest were victims of serious crimes against humanity in the context of international human rights law.
This report addresses the human rights violations that were documented in the context of the visit, such as: Selective homicides, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detentions, gender-based violence (GBV), torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (TCIDT), arbitrary prosecution, stigmatization, accusation, persecution, and an obstruction of the work of human rights defenders, alternative media outlets, photographers, and medical or healthcare teams.
The Mission received over 70 reports produced by local and regional organizations, it documented over 180 direct complaints from victims in the context of the National Strike, it observed and confirmed different methods of repression in a grave scenario of widespread and systematic human rights violations in the regions of the country visited by the Mission. The Mission has reached the preliminary conclusion that state security forces used combat and war techniques during the protests.
Similarly, the report identifies the presence and operations of paramilitary groups and analyzes the role of state security forces, trade guilds, companies, and mass media in relation to how the social protest was treated. Also, impunity is addressed in relation to state crimes, with respect to the role of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Nation, the Public Ministry, and the National Police; and the effects of the repression on health, nutrition, basic income, and housing, and the psycho-social impacts and coping mechanisms.
Given the humanitarian emergency and serious human rights crisis seen by the Mission SOS Colombia, it has 6 central recommendations and 50 immediate actions or short-term measures for the Colombian government and state, international multilateral bodies, companies, and the international community.
Members of Mission SOS Colombia, will provide details of their findings, petitions, and recommendations during a press conference to be held next 7 October at 9am, hour in Colombia. It will be possible to watch the presentation in Spanish on the Facebook pages of the convening organizations, such as the Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos, Corporación Jurídica Libertad, Fundación Forjando Futuros, CINEP, Comité de Solidaridad con Presos Políticos, and others.
The final report will be disseminated internationally by the organizations and individuals who participated in the Mission, as well as with international media outlets that have focused on what happened in Colombia, questioning the actions of the state security forces and the serious lack of human rights and guarantees for protestors from the Colombian state.