Mark Durkan – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Mark Durkan on 2016-04-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart on the number of human rights defenders and community leaders who have been killed in the last 30 days.

Mr Hugo Swire

I raised the issue of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) on 29 September 2015 when I met Deputy Foreign Minister Holguin of Colombia during the UN General Assembly, and in March when I met the Colombian Ambassador in London. We take every opportunity to raise our concerns with contacts in Colombia. Our Embassy officials raised our concerns with the Colombian Interior Minister and with the Presidential Advisor for Human Rights in February. The Minister of State, my noble Friend the Rt Hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns, raised her concerns about the situation of HRDs in Colombia with the Interior Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister during her visit there last month. On 1 April, our Ambassador to Colombia accompanied the Minister of Interior to a regional Human Rights roundtable, where the role of local authorities in taking effective action on HRD cases was discussed. The UK was the only member of the international community invited to this event.