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January 03, 2022

Migration Judicial Log: Inputs for Advocacy and Strategic Litigation for the Migrant and Refugee Population in Colombia

On November 11, 2021, ABA ROLI’s Colombia Project, Conectando Caminos por los Derechos (CCD), along with its local partner, Universidad de los Andes’ Center for Migration Studies (CEM), launched the “Migration Judicial Log.” The Log is an innovative tool and is the first of its kind in Colombia to identify relevant precedent cases in the immigration context, including decisions from the Inter-American System of Human Rights, Colombia’s Constitutional Court, and other local tribunals. The Log can also be accessed by national and local civil society organizations, justice sector officials, and policymakers.

The significance of the Log lies not only on it being the first of its kind in Colombia; it also highlights the importance of the rule of law to respond to the growing migration crisis in the country. The Migration Judicial Log aspires to become a key tool for advocacy and strategic litigation for migrants and refugees residing in Colombia and can be used widely as a transformative tool for justice. It seeks to be easily accessible and useful for those who defend the rights of migrants and refugees, including public officials, policymakers, judges, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, academics, law clinics, and other actors.

ABA ROLI anticipates that the Log will become a practical and accessible tool that empowers migrants and refugees to learn about their rights. In order to achieve this goal, the Log can be accessed in full text, as an mind map and on the University of los Andes’ interactive website. All of these platforms include valuable information, which the Log has organized under three categories: (i) violations of economic, social, and cultural rights, specifically the right to health, social security, and labor rights; (ii) violations relating to migratory status, particularly the right to due process and the right to nationality; and (iii) human rights violations relating to organized crime, specifically trafficking in persons.

In addition, the Log has collected over 50 judicial decisions and sentences from the Inter-American System of Human Rights, Colombia’s Constitutional Court, and other local tribunals, and organizes them as fact sheets. Each fact sheet contains the judicial ruling, the legal issue at hand, the facts, procedural process, the decision (case resolution and orders), any other jurisprudence related to the issue, and comments and observations about the ruling. Each fact sheet therefore includes not only the judicial ruling, but also incorporates analysis and review of each decision. The Migration Judicial Log has an important additional benefit as it addresses the impact and import of some of the decisions, as well as their relationship and implications for the current context.

The analysis developed throughout the Log addresses the most relevant advances in the protection of migrants’ and refugees’ rights, as well as the gaps that remain in the jurisprudence. For example, a surprising gap in jurisprudence relates to crimes of forced recruitment and forced disappearance—which suggests that obstacles geared towards access to justice and reporting fears may explain this gap. These gaps in jurisprudence suggest a need to focus efforts on guaranteeing access to justice for migrant and refugee victims in Colombia. At the same time, the Log highlights the significant increase in jurisprudence addressing issues such as the right to health and the right to a nationality.

Through discussions on the need to incorporate onto one site judicial decisions from local, national, and international courts and tribunals relating to the rights and protections of refugees and migrants, CCD played a key role in the creation of the Migration Judicial Log. Through technical assistance, ABA ROLI supported the systematization of the information through the creation of a database of jurisprudence, the design of fact sheets pursuant to CCD’s overall goals and objectives, including prioritizing cases of human rights violations.

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Latin America and the Caribbean.