Within the context of the presentation of country reports in the UN Human Rights Council, PBI highlights points of concern in the countries where we work, particularly drawing attention to the structural issues which result in the lack of protection for human rights defenders.
With regards to Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia, we regret that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the vulnerability of defenders who have suffered a sharp increase in attacks, killings and cases of criminalisation. We note with concern the continued militarisation of rural territories and attacks on the rule of law.
In Honduras, the allegations of corruption and impunity have been aggravated by the departure of the MACCIH. Strengthening UFERCO and paying special attention to the case of the "Fraud on the Gualcarque River" is a priority. In the territories, the PCM 030-2020 and 138-2020, adopted by the government in the agrarian sector and the management of sources of water, have led to an escalation of socio-environmental conflicts. The application of preventive imprisonment in cases of defenders such as Victor Vazquez, the 8 water defenders of Guapinolol, and the 6 members of COPINH in Achotal must be urgently reviewed.
In Guatemala, the increase in attacks against rural, indigenous and environmental defenders in the midst of increasing poverty and economic emergency for the collectives they represent is very concerning. The dismantling of the institutions created by the Peace Accords has deepened the vacuum of state response to the roots of this situation and the lack of monitoring of the risks. In this context, it is of utmost importance that the mandate of the OHCHR be renewed in the country.
In Colombia, the intensification of the conflict, the increase in killings, massacres, forced displacements, the silencing of communities, sexual violence and the criminalisation of social protest, all call for comprehensive responses from the state. These include: generating real guarantees to defend human rights, dismantling the structures inherited from paramilitarism, clarifying cases of illegal intelligence and advancing in the implementation of the Peace Accord.