After 50 years of armed conflict, the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the leading guerrilla organization, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC) in 2016. Efforts to implement the agreements, including initiatives to address the root causes of the conflict by fulfilling the needs of historically marginalized communities, have stalled in part because leaders of these communities have faced unprecedented levels of threats and violence. The Ministry of Interior (MOI), the agency charged with protecting community leaders and investigating threats against them, has committed to reforms to address this rising tide of violence.
The ABA Center for Human Rights (ABA-CHR) is conducting a study to examine the policies and practices of the Ministry of Interior to better ensure the protection of community leaders and other human rights defenders. This preliminary report addresses the initial findings of this study. In particular, it recommends publicly reporting on the progress of investigations, improving coordination between the Ministry and the Attorney General, and enhancing the independence of the Ministry of Interior's human rights directorate.