Dear Caravana supporters
The Caravana isn’t an expensive charity to run – we have a part-time coordinator, and many members who donate their time and expertise to support our work. But, we do need some essential funds.
Please make a donation today to support human rights lawyer and human rights defenders in Colombia
Your donation will support provide vital funds to support our Colombian partners so we can organise our next delegation and continue our work.
Any amount you can spare is really appreciated!
Please remember to add gift aid so your donation goes even further!
Thanks very much for all your support,
If you are wondering what your donation might make possible, here are just some of the amazing things that the Colombian Caravana has done this year. With your support we can continue.
We submitted its own shadow report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), to bring forward the challenges legal professionals face in Colombia and to make recommendations to address them. Also, in our joint submission with civil society organisations in Colombia and Europe under the umbrella of OIDHACO, we have highlighted challenges faced by human rights defenders, including legal professionals, and victims of human rights violations.
We held members’ talks with two at-risk human rights lawyers. One in April with Johana Rocha, an inspiring Colombian environmental and human rights lawyer from the lawyers’ collective Tierra Digna. The other in June with Olga Silva from Humanidad Vigente dealing with strategic litigation following the repercussions of social and political conflicts, as well as issues surrounding impunity, defending territory and peace-building.
We also hosted a members talk in November with Lily Andrea Rueda Guzmán, from Bucaramanga (Colombia), who has recently been appointed Justice Judge of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. She is specialised on international criminal law and human rights law in the context of transitional justice.
We coordinated the submission of an international amicus curiae brief by Monica Feria-Tinta before the Constitutional Court of Colombia, together with ABColombia, the Law Society. The amicus discussed the Law of Command Responsibility (Acto Legislativo 1 of 4 April 2017), to assess the compatibility of Article 24 (Command Responsibility) and Article 16 (Individual criminal responsibility for “aiding and abetting” by third parties), with international law binding on Colombia, including the Rome Statute.
We launched our 2016 delegation report at the Law Society with the intervention of Reinaldo Villalba, a Colombian human rights lawyer at risk from Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, raising awareness on the situation for human rights lawyers and other defenders, and calling for change. Since then we have used the report in follow up lobbying with decision-makers and the legal community. The report has also been launched in Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.
So far this year, the Colombian Caravana has written advocacy letters on 14 different cases of attacks and threats against Colombian human rights lawyers. One of the most recent cases involved intimidation against human rights lawyer Soraya Gutiérrez from the internationally-renowned José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR). In 2005 Soraya received a dismembered doll painted in red to her house as a message of what repercussions her daughter could face. Again in July this year, her husband found another doll in the car registered in Soraya’s name, after attending a public hearing on security and mobility in Bolívar city.
We can’t do it without your help.
THANKS VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
If you would like to donate to us another way, or if you require further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps you would like to raise some funds for us?!
In the past, people have got together and organised fundraising events such as:
- Sponsored Salsa-thon
- Sponsored bike ride
- 3 Peak Challenge
- Sponsored run around La Sagrada Familia
- Sponsored walks
…all to raise money to support the vital work of Colombia Caravana!!
You could even open your own fundraising page linked to our BT My Donate page, and ask your firm, colleagues, friends and family to sponsor you!!
Katie’s Fundraising for Inter Church Commission of Justice and Peace
Katie, one of our 2014 Caravana delegation members, and has recently been involved in raising funds for human rights NGO Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Inter Church Commission of Justice and Peace – CIJP). Here is an article that she has written about why she decided to organise a bake sale at her Church in London.
I was a member of the 2014 Colombia Caravana delegation to Colombia and was extremely fortunate to meet several representatives of the human rights NGO Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (CIJP). Earlier on I had met with the indigenous communities umbrella organisation ONIC and been shocked by accounts of the displacement of communities from their lands. For these communities, their identity is indelibly linked to their land and therefore this displacement represents a very real threat to their ultimate existence.
I found meeting with CIJP a particularly moving and also inspiring experience. Their work is focused on providing legal representation and accompaniment services to victims of forced displacement, notably indigenous communities, campesinos and Afro-Colombian communities. The NGO is an inter-church NGO, comprising members from Catholic, Presbyterian and humanist backgrounds. When the representatives were asked what form of assistance would be most useful to CIJP in the long-term, they explained that raising awareness amongst the international community was very important but also that financial assistance of any kind would be very much appreciated.
The obstacles an NGO like this faces are enormous owing to the sheer volume of cases, but also the constant threats that their members face in conducting their work, ranging from malicious attempts to discredit their work as ‘guerrilla lawyers’ to assassination attempts and other violent attacks. The representatives found making a request for financial support very difficult and were visibly embarrassed, but I promised myself that on my return to London I would make an effort to raise funds for this NGO. Because the NGO has a Christian foundation and I am Catholic, I decided to do a fundraiser at my Church.
On 1 March 2015, I held a fundraising cake sale at my church, St Mary’s in Hampstead. Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners of St Mary’s, the event raised £250, all of which was sent to the Inter Church Commission of Justice and Peace.