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Colombia: Human Rights

Volume 704: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will participate in a proposed visit by European Union heads of mission in Bogota to the Curvarado river basin, where according to recent reports, threats have been made against human rights defenders working for communities dispossessed of their lands. [HL5413]

The situation for human rights organisations in the Curvarado river basin is of great concern and we intend to participate in the visit to that region. We want human rights defenders throughout Colombia to be able to carry out their important and vital work safely.

Officials from our South America team, and our embassy in Bogota have met with Peace Brigades International, ABColombia and Justicia y Paz to discuss developments, and arrangements for the forthcoming visit to the area by EU embassies following a security assessment.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will raise, at the forthcoming United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Colombia, the large increase in the number of displaced persons between 2007 and 2008, reported by the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). [HL5414]

The UK will indeed raise the issue of internally displaced persons with the Colombian Government in advance of the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, reflecting our concern on the issue.

The Government are also taking forward a number of projects on internally displaced persons, including working with the UN in Colombia, funded by the UK Conflict Prevention Pool.