Project information

Colombian Human Rights Protection Project

Advocacy, awareness-raising and field research to protect legal professionals and other human rights defenders in Colombia, who promote access to justice by representing victims of human rights violations, such as indigenous peoples, small-scale rural producers, trade unionists and Afro-Colombians

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Colombia Caravana Limited

Colombia Caravana Limited logo
  • Need


    Colombia is about to sign a peace agreement, ending 50 years of internal armed conflict with widespread human rights abuses, including forced disappearance, extra-judicial killing, sexual violence and torture, particularly affecting the most vulnerable in society. Over 6 million people have been displaced.

    Some 98% of cases remain in impunity. Defenders who represent victims in human rights cases may face serious risks: in 2015 alone, 682 defenders were attacked and 63 were killed.


    The Colombian Caravana works in partnership with a network of human rights lawyers across Colombia. We ensure that our actions are targeted and effective by implementing a strategic approach to advocacy which has proven very effective:
    1) face-to-face meetings;
    2) urgent actions, e.g. letters of intervention;
    3) writing of reports;
    4) awareness-raising activities;
    5) direct monitoring of the situation with delegations to Colombia which are self-funded by volunteers

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Protection for human rights lawyers and defenders who promote access to justice and human rights


    » Monitor attacks, threats and killings against human rights lawyers and defenders
    » Report on threats, attacks and killings of human rights lawyers and defenders
    » Call on the Colombian authorities to protect human rights lawyers and defenders who have been threatened or attacked
    » Liaise with international organsiations concerned with the protection of human rights lawyers and defenders, e.g. UN, OAS, EU

    What success will look like

    Human rights lawyers and defenders subject to our advocacy activity tell us that their security has improved; Colombian state authorities are responsive to urgent action requests

    Aim 2

    Support human rights lawyers' and defenders' work to reduce impunity for human rights violations


    » Publish annual reports on cases of threats, attacks and killings of human rights lawyers and defenders, due to cases in which they represent victims
    » Hold the Colombian authorities to account for the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of perpetrators of human rights violations
    » Prepare legal submissions in landmark cases brought by Colombian lawyers and defenders in support of victims of human rights violations

    What success will look like

    Caravana report received by international human rights mechanisms; Caravana drafting and follow up on legal research to support the work of Colombian lawyers and defenders

    Aim 3

    Maintain and expand our international support network for Colombian human rights and defenders


    » Publish a high-level report on our international lawyers' delegation to Colombia in 2016, launch this report in at least 5 countries
    » Publish a regular members’ newsletter, and post awareness-raising information regularly to the Colombia Caravana website and social media sites
    » Organise awareness-raising seminars and talks on the situation of Colombian human rights lawyers and defenders, and access to justice

    What success will look like

    Lawyers from our international network and field delegation in 2016 take part in report launches and advocacy activities in 2017

  • Impact


    Respect for rule of law, access to justice and the protection of human rights are all stepping stones to peace, particularly important at this time of the peace agreement in Colombia.

    Without access to lawyers much of Colombian society remains vulnerable and with widespread impunity, stability and peace are hard to achieve.

    Strengthening the legal system is a major building block for peace and our project contributes to the aim of lasting peace and prosperity for all the people of Colombia


    Risk: Lack of communication between Colombian lawyers and the international legal community.
    Solution: Skype meetings with lawyers in Colombia, Coordinators in UK & Colombia; regular reports from lawyers’ organisations; e-mail network including Colombia and international legal organisations.
    Risk: Volunteers become too busy or exhausted and withdraw support.
    Solution: The Directors and Coordinator play stabilising roles to keep in regular contact and support volunteers in their activities.


    We will produce quarterly reports about our activities by e-mail, and an annual report with audited accounts which we lodge with Companies House and the Charities Commission, as well as donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 UK Coordination UK Coordinator stipend
      £4,000 Colombia Coordination Bogotá Coordinator Stipend
      £2,000 Communication Report publishing and launch (UK-Brussels)
      £2,000 Travel UK / Brussels Visit of Colombian lawyer to UK - Brussels for advocacy /awareness-raising
  • Background


    Colombia, particularly regions where lawyers are most under threat, there is a weak justice system, and impunity levels are highest.
    Those most in need of the protection of the law often have limited or no access to lawyers, because of factors such as poverty, rural location, precarious living conditions or the risk posed to lawyers travelling to certain areas. Human rights lawyers are stigmatised and harassed publically as well as directly threatened and physically attacked.


    The Colombia Caravana supports ACADEHUM, the National Association of Colombian Human Rights Lawyers, which has 34 member organisations with around 100 individual lawyer members. The ultimate beneficiaries are their clients, the trades unionists, small-scale rural producers, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, internally-displaced people, women and children whose human rights have been violated.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    First & foremost, Colombian human rights lawyers tell us first hand that our support for them has saved lives.

    We are supported by the Law Society of England & Wales and Bar Human Rights Committee with 30 active volunteers, and around 100 supporters in the UK, with experience of monitoring human rights in Colombia since 2008.

    We have visited Colombia with over 150 lawyers from 12 countries and have a strong relationship with the Colombian Association of Human Rights Lawyers, ACADEHUM.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Joanne Hutchinson

    Colombian Caravana Coordinator with experience of working in Colombia. Her coordination and support for volunteers will contribute to the project.

    Sara Chandler

    Trustee. Sara has demonstrated perseverance and commitment over many years enabling the Colombia Caravana to grow and support lawyers.

    Edwin Rubio

    Colombian lawyer, member of ACADEHUM, shows long term commitment to partnership with international legal organisations and is in constant contact.