USAID’s Annual Human Rights Consultations is a dialogue with civil society representatives from key U.S.-based non-governmental entities that have been monitoring Colombia’s human rights situation for many years. During the consultations, participants have the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in USAID/Colombia’s human rights programming, while voicing their concerns and insights related to the human rights situation in the country.
This year, discussion topics included the following: 1) inclusion and reconciliation; 2) prevention and protection for human rights defenders and social leaders; and 3) justice, peace and vulnerable populations.
As a result, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) provided a series of recommendation in a letter to the USAID/Colombia Mission Director which focused on 1) security of community leaders and human rights defenders; 2) underscoring integration of ethnic minorities and gender in post-accord implementation; 3) guaranteeing that multi-level civil society is proactive in transitional justice efforts; 4) impact of terrorism legal restriction on USAID aid.
In all, WOLA recommends to USAID to continue to be at the forefront of supporting consolidation of the FARC peace process on the ground. This assistance plays a vital complementary role in helping to secure peace, human rights and justice in Colombia. The USAID Mission’s special attention to human rights defenders, Afro-Colombian, indigenous and victims’ rights must continue since these are sectors that require robust support. In addition to supporting the FARC peace process, for there to be a complete peace the U.S. should assist the peace process with the ELN and strongly encourage the effective dismantlement of illegal paramilitary and criminal groups.