Photo: 22-year-old university student Leidy Natalia Cadena Torres was shot by the ESMAD riot police on April 28 in Bogota.

On May 1, the PBI-Colombia accompanied José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) tweeted: “97 social, trade union, environmental, women’s and human rights networks and organizations alerted the @CIDH [Inter-American Commission on Human Rights] on human rights violations committed in the framework of protests in Colombia. We request urgent intervention from the international community!”

Prensa Latina has also reported: “The non-governmental organization Temblores confirmed 851 cases of police violence, including 10 deaths; 18 cases of firearms fired; 8 people with eye injuries; 655 arbitrary arrests, among other facts, according to a report documenting the mobilizations [from April 28] until 30 April.”


In early April, Colombia’s largest unions – including the Central Union of Workers (CUT) – called for a national strike on April 28 to protest the Colombian government’s proposed ‘tax reform’ package and labour and pension reforms.

VOA reports: “The widely unpopular tax reform would add a 19% tax on things like Internet service, gasoline, electricity, water, among other things, and impose income taxes on people who earn more than $700 a month.” According to Reuters, the reforms also included increasing the retirement age and making it easier to fire workers.

The protest that began on April 28 is ongoing.

Now, Prensa Latina reports: “[Colombian president Ivan] Duque has ordered the Ministry of Finance to reformulate the controversial project and advanced that they would rule out the increase to VAT (Value Added Tax) for services and goods, among other changes and then discuss them in Congress.”

The right to protest

On April 30, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “Organizations including NOMADESC and dhColombia warn of excessive and excessive use of force by state agents against protesters in Cali.”

PBI-Colombia has also previously highlighted: “Social and peaceful protest is a human right, above all, disproportionate repressions cannot be justified against the civilian population, we ask for guarantees and respect for life.”

On October 30th, 2020, PBI-USA hosted a police violence webinar that discussed the importance of the right to protest that featured human rights defenders from Colombia, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, and Kenya. You can watch the recording here.

PBI-USA continues to follow this situation closely.


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