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Protecting Human Rights in Colombia

The Human Rights Program strengthened respect for and protection of human rights in Colombia through building capacity in the government sector and civil society to prevent and respond to human rights violations.
To cultivate a public and institutional culture of human rights, Chemonics and USAID partnered with the Colombian government on the Human Rights Program (HRP), which supported government and civil society in the development of meaningful prevention and response mechanisms. The program called attention to the importance of human rights in both protection and enforcement through spreading awareness in targeted populations where the abuses are most prevalent. HRP had a strong regional focus with satellite offices in eight Colombian Departments, where the project maintained a flexible focus in order to respond to shifting dimensions of conflict and human rights concerns.
By emphasizing the importance of human rights, HRP institutionalized best practices in preventing and managing violations. Some example of activities included training of public servants on gender and minority concerns, ongoing situational analyses of the human rights situation in focal Departments, supporting the development of documentary films and radio spots on topics related to human rights, working with law schools and government institutions to sponsor continuing education in conflict and human rights, and supporting the process of land restitution.
To promote sustainability and local ownership in policies and practices, HRP built the capacity of the government to design, implement, evaluate, and monitor public human rights policies and to more effectively prevent and respond to human rights violations. In addition, the program built the capacity of civil society groups, which play a critical role in advocating for human rights causes and providing oversight.

The project also worked with the Colombian government and civil society groups to improve coordination and increase interaction to jointly promote human rights policies and practices, reduce overlaps and inconsistencies in policies and services provided, and efficiently and effectively investigate and sanction alleged violations.
Project Results:
  • Strengthened capacity of 10 LGBTI organzations
  • Trained 759 teachers in 40 municipalities on human rights
  • Supported production of 6 documentaries to increase visibility of human rights issues
  • Provided legal and/or psychosocial assistance to 18,731 victims of human rights violations
  • Trained 387 journalists in freedom of expression and self-protection
Project duration: 2012- 2015


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