Human Rights Council
Agenda item 2
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
The present report highlights positive developments fostered by the Government of Colombia to promote and protect human rights in 2012, as well as outstanding concerns. It further offers recommendations to help improve the human rights situation.
Colombia is in a position to greatly improve its compliance with its human rights obligations and to become a fully inclusive society that respects the rights of all Colombians. Significant positive signs are visible, but realizing and sustaining these gains will require innovation, persistence and the involvement of all sectors of society, as well as years of sustained efforts.
The report is focused on areas in which the office in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is working to facilitate change, and contains a review of the human rights situation in the country in 2012. The approach taken considers developments as reasons for hope or as requiring close observation or urgent action. Developments that can be considered "reasons for hope" are that the Government has acknowledged its obligations and has undertaken significant initiatives in policy and/or practice to address the existing problems. Transforming these initiatives into effective change will be challenging due to, inter alia, vested interests and structural impediments. Under the category "close observation required", there are both positive and negative developments. For example, there may be full or partial recognition of a problem, but the initiative undertaken may be inadequate to facilitate the needed change. With respect to areas that require urgent action, the report highlights serious human rights issues that continue to be denied or remain unaddressed.
Everyone has rights and obligations under human rights law. The State holds primary responsibility, as not only must it respect human rights and respond when it violates them, but it also has the duty to protect against violations by third parties and to create an environment where all rights are respected. While, for example, armed actors, landlords and businesses must all respect human rights and be accountable for violations they commit, the State, through its policies, programmes and laws, must act to stop these violations and prevent their repetition.