Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Jeffrey M. Donaldson Jeffrey M. Donaldson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Colombian government on the protection of politicians and peace activists who have been threatened and targeted for assassination by paramilitary organisations.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Holding answer received on 08 December 2014

We remain concerned by reports of threats against civil society and members of congress by the BACRIM (criminal bands).

I raised this issue with Ministers and senior officials from across the Colombian government during my visit earlier this year. More recently, our Ambassador in Bogota raised this issue on 30 September during a meeting with the Presidential High Adviser for Human Rights, Guillermo Rivera, and Rafael Blanco from the Chief Office of International Affairs. He was assured that this issue had been raised with the Attorney General’s office and that they had been urged to quickly investigate in order to make a robust assessment of the context of the threats. The Colombian government has also assured us that its Ministry of the Interior is working to ensure that adequate protection measures are in place.

Our Embassy in Bogota continues to urge the Colombian government to take further measures to prevent violence and threats against human rights defenders, trades unionists, civil society and politicians and to promptly investigate human rights violations.

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