Colombia Caravana 2016

IRLI and The Colombia Caravana, 2016

The Colombia Caravana, an access to justice project, was initiated in 2008 by Sara Chandler, a UK lawyer, after she visited Colombia in 2008 at the invitation of the Colombian Association of Defence Lawyers (ACADEHUM), an umbrella organisation for Colombian human rights and defence lawyers. The Caravana visits Colombia every two years in order to both observe and campaign on the various impediments to access to justice, practice of law and rule of law in the country. The Caravana supports lawyers defending human rights campaigners who are attempting to access justice for their communities, and seeks to highlight the serious threats and difficulties lawyers and judges face as they seek to apply the rule of law.

Colombia has only recently started to emerge from 50 years of internal chaos and unrest caused by the competing interests of drugs cartels, paramilitary organisations, government agencies, and legitimate businesses who resort to illegal actions in order to shore up their business interests in the country.  Colombia is the second most heavily land-mined country in the world, as many drugs cartels and other organisations use mines to keep displaced persons from returning to their homes.  It also has one of the largest numbers of internally displaced persons in the world at approximately 6 million people, second only to Syria.

The last Caravana visit occurred in 2014 when around 70 lawyers from the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Spain, Canada and Germany travelled to the country and met with human rights groups, community leaders, legal practitioners and judges in Colombian provinces.  Meetings were then held in Bogota with the DPP and other government figures in order to present the findings from the regions and highlight concerns.

Please see  the full copy of the Report of the Fourth International Delegation of Lawyers to Colombia titled “Colombia at the Crossroads: the vital role of lawyers and human rights defenders for real justice and peace” here.

All members of the Caravana travel at their own expense.

This year IRLI is partnering with the Irish Colombia Caravana group to support the coordination of their trip and to increase the opportunities for members of the Irish legal profession to engage in worthwhile projects such as this.

If you would like to join the 2016 Caravana for this extremely rewarding and worthwhile project, please contact Mary Henderson at mhenderson@irishruleoflaw.ie as soon as possible, as places are limited.  The UK lawyers’ group of the Colombia Caravana have overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the trip, and their website can be found at www.colombiancaravana.org.uk.

 

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