Photo: © DANIEL MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images
Thousands of Colombians claimed their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, during months of demonstrations for justice and peace in 2021. Women, youth, Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent communities and LGBTIQ+ people played a prominent role in the hope-inspiring protests, calling on the government to address gaping inequality, racism and lack of security.
Instead of listening to them, the previous government of President Ivan Duque responded with brutal repression. As they have countless times before and since, police and members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) used excessive violence to disperse protests, spread fear, and punish those who dared to call for a fairer society.
Scores of people were killed or injured when they were fired at, including protesters who were blinded from shots aimed at their eyes. Others were subjected to arbitrary detention and torture. As women and LGBTIQ+ protesters fled police gunfire and tear gas, they were subjected to gender-based violence, assaults and rape. Indigenous people and Afro-Colombians were also a target of brutal police repression.
This cannot be allowed to happen again. That’s why Colombian civil society organizations, survivors of the violence, and Amnesty International joined together to urgently call for far-reaching changes! Our reform proposal would demilitarize the police, change their functions, strengthen citizen control, and put human rights guarantees at the core of policing.
Sign this action to add your voice!
Say “YES” to putting human rights at the heart of policing! And “YES” to protection of the right to peaceful protest without fear of harm!