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U.S. Statement at the UPR of Colombia
April 23, 2013

UPR Intervention for Colombia,
16th Session April 23, 2013

 As delivered by Kim D’Auria-Vazira


The United States welcomes H.E. Mr. Angelino Carson, VP of Columbia and the delegation of Colombia.

We commend Colombia for taking steps to begin negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution of the country’s long-standing conflict with the FARC; implementing a Victims’ Law to address conflict-related claims; reducing occurrences of alleged extrajudicial executions by security forces; and particularly for the government’s increasingly positive, inclusive approach toward human rights groups.

We recognize Colombia’s recent public statements underscoring its commitment to prevent impunity for human rights violations.  We believe it important that all human rights cases be properly investigated and prosecuted in the civilian court system.

Threats, violence, and killings continue to occur against human rights defenders and vulnerable individuals, to include Afro-Colombians, indigenous persons, labor activists, women, and those seeking redress under the Victims’ Law.

We are pleased by the government’s effective engagement on the Labor Action Plan.  However, we are concerned by the incomplete training labor inspectors receive, particularly at the local level, resulting in inconsistent application of labor laws.  We are encouraged by the government’s application of increased fines for labor law violations, but concerned that few of these increased penalties have been collected.

We recommend:

1.  Uphold commitments to prevent impunity for human rights violations;

2.  Promptly investigate and prosecute perpetrators of threats, extortion, and attacks on human rights defenders, vulnerable individuals, unionists, and potential beneficiaries of the Victims’ Law;

3.  Strengthen the enforcement of labor laws, especially by increasing training for labor inspectors to enable more thorough investigations of alleged violations, and ensuring timely collection of fines.