On 25 April, BHRC hosted Colombian human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez as part of his European speaking tour in which he also meet with EU institutions and representatives of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Luis Guillermo is member of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyer’s Collective (CAJAR), which works to defend and promote human rights in Colombia. Luis Guillermo is also a member of the National Council for Peace, Reconciliation and Coexistence and coordinator of the Commission of Oversight and Guarantees of Non-Repetition of the Council itself. Over more than 30 years, the work of CAJAR’s lawyers has resulted in landmark decisions that have improved access to justice for many victims of the country’s long-running conflict. They have faced many serious threats for this work, including being linked to insurgent organisations by government officials, and being publicly identified as “military targets” by death squads.
The discussion brought to life much of the work Luis is doing and highlighted the ways the international community can assist them in their efforts for justice and accountability for atrocities in Colombia.
The discussion was chaired by BHRC Chair Kirsty Brimelow QC, in partnership with Peace Brigades International.
While talking about Guis Guillermo’s visit, Brimelow told the Times, “Open recognition by the Colombian state of the scale and organisation of the murders would be an important step towards rebuilding trust and achieving better protection and remedies… It’s time to abandon the refrain that there is not really a problem and that the killings are the work of disconnected groups of criminals.”