The Constitutional Court of Colombia Convenes a Public Hearing in the Process on Protection Measures for Social Leaders and Human Rights Defenders.

The Constitutional Court is considering nine tutela actions1 filed by 18 citizens who identify themselves as social leaders and human rights defenders against various state authorities.

Bulletin No 39
Bogotá, April 18, 2022

The Constitutional Court, by means of order 538 of 2022, convened a public hearing concerning the tutela process T-8.018.193 and accumulated court records on the subject. The technical session will be held online on Thursday 28 April 2022, starting at eight o’clock in the morning, and will be broadcast on all channels and social networks of the judicial corporation.

The case concerns nine tutela actions filed by 18 citizens who identify themselves as social leaders and human rights defenders against various state authorities, including the Presidency of the Republic, the Ministry of the Interior, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Defence, the National Protection Unit and the Attorney General’s Office. The plaintiffs consider that their fundamental rights have been violated as a result of state authorities failing to respect, guarantee and protect their lives and of their collectives.

According to the tutela, the violation of their rights occurs in different scenarios: (i) some of the plaintiffs are not protected from the UNP; (ii) others claim that although the State has provided them with protection through security schemes, these are not sufficiently effective and do not take gender, ethnic, racial, cultural or territorial differences into account. They also point out that (iii) this has affected the representation of the collectives and (iv) there are no policies to prevent systematic stigmatisation against them.

Representatives of the applicants, the Ombudsman’s Office, the National Protection Unit, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, the Attorney General’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Colombian Federation of Municipalities, the Governor of the department of Cauca, the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (Codhes), the NGO SOMOS Defensores, peace negotiator Humberto de la Calle Lombana, the UN Verification Mission, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.

The hearing will cover four thematic areas. First, the current situation of the protection of the life and integrity of human rights leaders and defenders. Second, the legislative, administrative and budgetary measures adopted by the state to implement a public policy for the protection of human rights defenders and social leaders. Third, the effectiveness of the protection routes and measures to guarantee the life and integrity of social leaders and human rights defenders and of groups, collectives and/or communities defending human rights in Colombia. Fourth, the guarantee of protection for the life and integrity of social leaders and human rights defenders in accordance with the Final Peace Agreement.


1 Tutela is a Colombian protection mechanism that allows any person to go before the judicial authorities to obtain immediate protection of their fundamental rights, when these are violated or threatened by the action or omission of any public authority or private individuals, in the cases established by law. Its normative framework is found in general terms in Article 86 of the Political Constitution of Colombia and in Decree Law 2591 of 1991.

[Corte Constitucional. República de Colombia]