Colombia has not been on the UNHRC during the time of this study, so we didn’t include its votes on human rights declarations. It has been quiet in the UPR process, tending to accept many of the recommendations concerning basic human rights concerns. Under President Santos, Colombia has also become engaged in the Inter-American system mostly cooperating with the Commission on cases in which it was involved and offering a letter of commitment to make a voluntary contribution to help bail out the Commission when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Where Colombia surprises is in the regulatory restrictions its places on civil society.
Below is a breakdown of Colombia’s actions and votes at the various venues we are monitoring. For more information click on each title and summary.
|Freedom Status||Partly Free|
|Aggregate Score (100 is perfect freedom and protection of rights)||63/100|
|Political Rights (scores out of 7, with 1 being the best)||3/7|
|Civil Liberties (scores out of 7, with 1 being the best)||4/7|
|Press Freedom||Partly free|
|Corruption Perception Index (CPI)||37/100|
|Evaluation of OECD Compliance||Progress Report|
|World Justice Project |
|UN Human Development Index|
|Human Development Index||0.720|
|Americas Quarterly |
|Social Inclusion Index||75.53/100|
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC or Council)
Colombia has never been on the UNHRC.
UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review
As part of its mandate to promote human rights around the globe, the UNHRC has instituted a Universal Periodic Review, where, once every four years, each country’s human rights record is examined. Other countries are invited to review the record and make comments and suggestions for improvement. The country under review then acknowledges each comment by either “accepting” the comment, meaning typically that they agree to focus on, or “noting” it, indicating that they disagree and will not be focusing on improvements in this area.
As recipient: Colombia received 167 recommendations. Accepted 127, noted 40. (only select topics listed below)
|Freedom of association and peaceful assembly||–||–||–|
|Freedom of opinion and expression||–||–||–|
|Freedom of religion and belief||–||–||–|
|Freedom of press||3||3||–|
|Human rights defenders||13||13||–|
|Human rights violations by state agents||5||2||3|
|Internally displaced persons||1||1||–|
|Sexual orientation and gender identity||3||2||1|
|Torture and CID treatment||12||1||11|
Note: some comments are classified under multiple categories.
As commenter: Colombia has not been fairly active in the UPR process, with 112 comments made so far in the 2nd cycle (for data available). With 46% made towards other Latin American countries, it consistently made 2-4 comments for most, but not all, countries around the globe.
Note: This data is for the 2nd cycle of the UPR. However, the final round of countries were reviewed in November/December 2016, and that data is not yet available to include in our analysis here.
UN NGO Committee
Colombia has not been on the committee since 2008.
OAS Permanent Council
Under the new leadership of Secretary General Luis Almagro, the OAS has re-found its focus on defending democracy but is still bound by the wishes and will of its members. But the newfound leader’s commitment—and the challenges—were shown at a meeting in June 2016 where Almagro presented his report on the state of democracy in Venezuela and proposed invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
In June 2016, Colombia voted in favor of Secretary General Luis Almagro presenting his report laying out the evidence on how and why it was necessary to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter in Venezuela. Despite endless procedural hurdles thrown up by Venezuela and its allies, the Permanent Council eventually got to a vote, albeit on the procedural issue of the agenda and whether Almagro should present his report at all. Colombia voted with the majority.
Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR or Commission)
Unlike past administrations, President Santos’ government has been positively engaged with the Commission and even improved its score from the 157th session to the 158th session. While as of our report, the funds had not yet been provided to the Commission after it threatened that it would have to shutter its operations temporarily and lay off staff, it did provide a letter of commitment to providing support.
Hearing Issue Score 157th /158th General Situation of Human Rights in Colombia 3/3 157th /158th Search for Missing Persons in La Escombrera de Medellín, Colombia 3/3 157th /158th Case 12.957- Jineth Bedoya, Colombia 2/3 157th /158th Jahel Quiroga Carrillo, Colombia 3/3 157th /158th Territory, Human Rights, and Peace-Building in the Departments of Cauca and Córdoba, Colombia 3/3 156th Human Rights Defenders-Land Restitution 3/3 156th Health and Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence 3/3 156th Legal Reforms with Regard to Security Forces 2/3 156th Discrimination against People of African Descent 3/3
Voluntary financial contributions to IACHR (as of Sept. 16, 2016):
Year Contributions by Colombia Percentage of Total
Contributions to IACHR
2011 – – 2012 $10,500 0.56% 2013 $122,600 3% 2014 – – 2015 $50,000 2.19% 2016 – –
The OAS has conducted a total of 12 electoral observation missions to Colombia since 1994. The latest electoral observation mission took place on October of 2016, when the OAS monitored the peace agreement referendum. The OAS also monitored elections in 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2002, and 1997.
Given Colombia’s own commitment to receiving credible international election monitors for its own elections, it remains unclear why it continues to support UNASUR election monitoring efforts and the UNASUR dialogues in Venezuela, which have failed to hold the government accountable.
Freedom of Information Laws
Since 2000 the right to information and freedom of information laws have expanded across the region. However, the existence of the laws on the books does not necessarily mean full enforcement.
Signatory/Participant in MESICIC* Yes Constitutional protection* Yes Specific law enacted* Yes- enacted in 1985 Is there a presumption of right* Yes Scope/Exceptions/Overrides* Applies to all bodies, including private bodies that receive public funding; vague on national security exceptions and limited overrides Received information under FOIA law?** 56% Received information within a week?** 26% Received the appropriate information?** 44%