Thursday, May 07, 2009
With Alirio Uribe
This morning I chaired a meeting to launch the report of the international lawyers' human rights delegation to Colombia, in Committee Room 6 of the Commons. Alirio Uribe is President of the Lawyers' Collective in Colombia, and a former vice president of the FIDH. Other speakers were Sarah Chandler, a member of the Law Society International Human Rights Committee; Ole Hanson, a member of the Law Society's Access to Justice Committee, and Gillian Merron MP, the FCO Minister who deals with Colombia and is visiting the country in a couple of weeks' time.
Although the Colombian authorities are relatively open to scrutiny by international NGOs and the UN Special Procedures, nothing seems to change. There have been 1,500 extrajudicial killings during the lifetime of this government, for instance, and not one of the culprits has been brought to justice. Alirio said that since 1991, 400 lawyers had been murdered. It has been announced that a Special Unit has been established to investigate attacks on lawyers, and the Minister said she would pursue this on her visit.