The meeting was also attended by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laura Gil, who indicated that it was agreed to create a follow-up mechanism for the recommendations between the IACHR, the Colombian Government and civil society. Gustavo Petro/ Twitter
President Gustavo Petro, leaving a meeting with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the Casa de Nariño, announced that the Colombian State promised to make reparations to the victims who left the demonstrations of the 2020 and 2021 national strike in against the government of Iván Duque. The meeting was recorded so that the national government could examine the recommendations left by the IACHR in its report published in 2021.
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Through Twitter, President Petro announced the State’s commitment: “I have met with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to examine its recommendations on the social outbreak of 2020/21. The State undertakes to make reparation for the victims it left behind on the occasion of the repression that it unleashed against the social movement”.
At the meeting with the president of the IACHR, Julissa Mantilla; the rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Justice Operators, Joel Hernández García, and the Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs, Laura Gil.
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The latter warned that the IACHR has agreed to “set up an institutionalized IACHR-Government follow-up mechanism with the participation of civil society to follow up on each of these recommendations.”
Vice Minister Gil also explained that the reason for the meeting between the national government and the IACHR is that the recommendations issued by it, as well as by other international human rights organizations, are vital for the changes that the Petro government wants to advance.
“The reason why we do this is because we believe that the recommendations that international human rights bodies leave us have the potential to produce structural changes that allow us to guarantee non-repetition.”
For her part, the president of the IACHR stressed the importance of refusing to prosecute the protest and reiterated that the Government must guarantee the right to protest, this within the framework of the right to freedom of expression.
“We are saying that judicialization mechanisms that may imply discouraging future protests and reprisals cannot be used. In the recommendations that we propose there is also the need to demonstrate structural causes, this is going to be an opportunity for transformation”, pointed out the president of the IACHR Julissa Mantilla.
Mantilla, on the mechanism that the Government and the IACHR will seek to implement to follow up on everything that happens in the context of social protests, before, during and after, warned that:
“The possibility of establishing a follow-up mechanism gives us a lot of hope. In its report, the Commission acknowledges the concrete facts of the outbreak, the structural causes and, above all, this follow-up to the recommendations implies addressing the situation.”
Regarding the previous visit of the IACHR to Colombia, during the government of Iván Duque, the president of the IACHR compared the willingness of President Petro to receive them, in the face of the difficulties they had with the previous government.
“We welcome being able to count on this mechanism that, in addition to the State and the IACHR, will also have the participation and contribution, above all, of civil society,” explained the president of the IACHR.
Finally, the rapporteur Hernández stated that said cooperation with the Government will allow the structural origins that unleashed the protests to become evident.
“It has encouraged us to continue working closely with Colombia, the very positive response that the Government has given with the IACHR regarding this report on social protest, this joint mechanism that we will have to establish will allow the Commission to accompany national efforts in being able to guarantee the right to social protest,” explained Hernández.
Hernández García, also praised the cooperation of President Petro with the inter-American organization.
“I want to express to you the enormous satisfaction that this meeting with the President of the Republic, with the Vice Minister, gives us. It has been an extremely important meeting, because President Petro’s vocation for cooperation with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and with the Inter-American Human Rights System has been revealed”.
Finally, he stressed that the joint follow-up mechanism “will allow the Commission to accompany national efforts to guarantee the right to social protest”, and specified that “it has really been a unique opportunity, rarely seen, at a level of such close cooperation.
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