Bryan Nott’s Comment takes to task the call to UK firms to set up in Colombia and expresses clearly the dangerous situation of trade unionists in Colombia: ‘Three out of five trade unionists murdered worldwide are in Colombia’.
As members of the Colombia Caravana UK Lawyers Group, we monitor the risks to Colombian lawyers and judges following the joint Law Society, Bar Council and CILEX international delegations of 2008 and 2010 to investigate the situation of human rights lawyers. Between 11 January and 3 May 2012 alone, 11 lawyers were killed, including Elizabeth Cuellar Quintero, the president of her local bar association. Perpetrators enjoy impunity. Until the Colombian government can ensure protection for human rights defenders and prosecution of the perpetrators of human rights violations, then UK commercial entities should only consider setting up if they are prepared to defend human rights publicly. The 2012 Caravana will visit Colombia from 26 August to 1 September to hear evidence in eight regions and to press the cases of threatened and murdered lawyers with the authorities.
Lawyers interested in upholding human rights in Colombia should go to Columbia Caravana.
Professor Sara Chandler, chair, Law Society human rights committee, Law Society Council memberRod Mole, Law Society Council member, vice-president, Federation of European BarsMark Bishop, past president, CILEXKim Archer, president, City of Westminster and Holborn Law SocietyAlison Parkinson, past chair, Association of Women SolicitorsMark Cunningham QCCamilla Graham Wood, Junior Lawyers Division National CommitteeJeffrey Forrest, Law Society Council memberNigel Dodds, Law Society Council memberAngus King, Law Society Council memberKeith Etherington, Law Society Council memberNeena Acharya, solicitorCaroline Dean, solicitorAnna Doyle, solicitorOle Hansen, solicitorJanet Irvine, solicitorEllen James, solicitorPhilip Liptrot, solicitorDavid Mole, solicitorMonika Pirani, solicitorPip Salvador Jones, solicitorSue Willman, solicitorPeter Burbidge, CounselEileen Bye, CounselJacinta Jones, CounselTim Potter, CounselMembers of the Colombia Caravana UK Lawyers Group