Colombia (CCPR 17-11-2016)
The Committee considered the seventh periodic report of Colombia (CCPR/C/COL/7) at its 3313th and 3314th meetings (see CCPR/C/SR.3313 and 3314), held on 19 and 20 October 2016. At its 3330th meeting, held on 1 November 2016, it adopted the present concluding observations.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Internal armed conflict
- Although the Committee notes that peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC-EP) have led to a considerable reduction in the impact of the armed conflict on the civilian population, it is concerned by reports that violations of Covenant rights, including the arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances and torture, continued to be committed during the period under review. The Committee finds it regrettable that it has not received sufficient information on the steps taken in response to the early warnings issued by the Inter-Agency Early Warning Committee during the reporting period or on their effectiveness in preventing serious human rights violations (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9 and 12).
- The State party should continue and intensify its efforts to prevent violations of Covenant rights and to give effect to the rights of victims of the armed conflict to truth, justice and full reparation. It should, in particular, ensure that:
(a) The appropriate authorities adopt effective preventive measures in response to early warnings issued by the Inter-Agency Early Warning Committee and that they monitor and take proper action on all risk reports and follow-up notes issued by the Ombudsman’s Office under the Early Warning System even if they are not converted into early warnings;
(b) All violations of Covenant rights are investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially, and the perpetrators of such violations are brought to justice and held accountable for their acts;
(c) Effective protection and care is afforded to the most vulnerable persons and communities, in particular women, children, older adults, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples;
(d) All victims receive full reparation, including the restitution of their land.
Discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity
- The Committee recognizes the efforts made by the State party to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including the decisions of the Constitutional Court that guarantee the rights of same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages and to adopt children, and its efforts to combat discrimination and violence directed at them. The Committee is concerned, however, by reports that such persons have been the target of acts of violence, including murder, and police misconduct because of their sexual orientation or gender identity (arts. 2, 6, 7 and 26).
- The State party should continue and step up its efforts to combat stereotypes regarding, and prejudice against, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, and to ensure that acts of discrimination and violence directed against them are prevented, that acts of violence against them are investigated, that the persons who commit such acts stand trial and are punished, and that victims are provided with assistance and full reparation. It should also adopt stronger measures to prevent members of the security forces from committing acts of discrimination or violence and to punish them if they do so. The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts to uphold the rights of same-sex couples in practice.
Conditions of detention
- While taking note of the steps taken by the State party to improve prison conditions, the Committee is concerned by the persistence of serious overcrowding, as the total rate of overcrowding in the country’s detention centres is 55 per cent and is reportedly over 400 per cent in two centres. The Committee is also concerned by reports that instances of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, including members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex population, continued to occur (arts. 7 and 10).
- The State party should redouble its efforts to reduce overcrowding by, inter alia, ensuring that use is made of non-custodial measures, and to improve prison conditions so as to ensure that the dignity of persons deprived of their liberty is respected in accordance with article 10 of the Covenant. It should also step up its efforts to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of deprivation of liberty, to ensure that all reports of torture or ill-treatment are investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially by an independent body that has no hierarchical or institutional tie to the suspected perpetrators and to ensure that the responsible parties are brought to justice and punished.