Key factors contributing to human rights violations in Colombia include the incomplete demobilization of paramilitary groups formed during the 50+ year internal armed conflict, high levels of impunity, the persistence of forced displacement, the phenomena of forced disappearance, and threats, aggressions and harassment of members of human rights organizations, unions, journalists, as well as indigenous, afro-descendent and peasant farmer communities. United Nations agencies and special rapporteurs and other international organizations confirm that the Colombian conflict continues to seriously affect the human rights situation of the local population.

Armed actors from all sides of the conflict commit violations of human rights, including massacres, murders, forced disappearances, kidnappings, torture and extortion.

Infractions of international humanitarian law are common, and some have been classified as crimes against humanity. The principal victims have been the civilian population. The Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) estimates 4.9 million people have been forcibly displaced since 1985.

PBI celebrates that after 22 years of accompanying human rights defenders in Colombia, it is witnessing in 2016 the signature of a peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It is a fundamental step towards ending more than 50 years of armed conflict which left eight million victims,[1] most of them civilians[2]. It is a huge step towards a less violent society with more respect for human rights, and hopefully more justice. The Government and FARC are committed to, from now on, “breaking any type of connection between politics and the use of arms”.[3]

PBI in Colombia 

PBI has 17-19 volunteers in four sub-teams protecting NGOs, individuals and communities in Barrancabermeja and the Magadalena Medio, Bogotá, Urabá, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Casanare, Arauca and Sucre among other regions.

The teams operate as observers, accompanying people or organizations under threat, making regular visits to conflict zones, distributing information about the evolution of the conflict, carrying out advocacy, lobbying and public relations work with representatives of the international community as well as with civil and military authorities, and campaigning for international support.

Visit the PBI Colombia Project website

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Who we protect in Colombia


PBI accompanies a number of lawyers’ associations across the country, who are taking Colombia’s most emblematic cases of massacres, extra-judicial killings and disappearances to court. The work of these lawyers benefits not only the people directly involved but also the wider human rights movement, and they are among the human rights workers most at risk in Colombia.

Organizations challenging impunity

Women human rights defenders and defenders of women's rights

Defending land rights, culture and natural resources