WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

The Struggle for Justice for Victims of Police Violence in Cali, Colombia

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Friday, 10 December 2021

(AP Photo/Andres Gonzalez)

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Peace Brigades International (PBI), Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Colombia Human Rights Committee (CHRC), Amnesty International (AI), and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFK Human Rights) cordially invite you to a webinar:

Since its official start in late April 2021, Colombia’s National Strike and the subsequent social protests against police brutality have subsided. Yet, social leaders, victims’ families, and human rights defenders seeking to reform the police and secure justice for victims of the abuses committed amid the protests continue to suffer persecution and stigmatization. The Defend the Liberty Campaign (CampañaDefender la Libertad, Un Asunto de Todas) reports that between April 28 and September 28, alone, at least 7,394 human rights abuses have been documented, which include homicides, arbitrary detentions, disappearances and episodes of gender-based violence. In Cali, Colombia’s third largest city with a high number of Afro-descendant residents,the disproportionate use of force employed by security forces was particularly acute, as the government deployed troops to quell the unrest. Social media networks were flooded with disturbing videos of the violence and abuses. In one egregious instance, an Indigenous Nasa caravan that entered the city in early May to peacefully support protestors at the University of Cali was attacked by armed civilians, who, in the presence of police officers, shot their guns at protestors.

When the violence broke out, human rights defender Berenice Celeita and her team at the Association for Research and Social Action (Asociación para la Investigación y la Acción Social, Nomadesc) were out in the streets of Cali monitoring and assisting the victims of police violence. Currently, Nomadesc represents over twenty cases of victims of this recent police violence. Among these cases are the parents of youth killed by the police, women subjected to sexual abuse, torture survivors, and individuals who have permanent ocular injuries due to the actions taken by security forces. Invaluable efforts to secure justice for these cases have unfortunately led to death threats, persecution, monitoring, and surveillance against Celeita. 

Join us on Friday, December 10 at 12:30 p.m. EST for a webinar where Celeita will discuss  the current human rights situation in Cali, the status of police reform in Colombia, how justice should materialize for the victims of police brutality, and what the international community can do to support Nomadesc’s efforts. PBI’s Javier Garate will examine the security challenges faced by social leaders supporting victims of this recent violence. WOLA’s Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, who recently visited Cali during Representative Jim McGovern’s delegation to Colombia, will moderate the event. 


Event Details:
Friday, December 10, 2021
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST


Simultaneous interpretation between English and Spanish will be available, exclusively on Zoom.


Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli
Director for the Andes, WOLA

Berenice Celeita
Director, Nomadesc

Javier Garate
Advocacy Representative for the US and Canada, PBI