Colombia: Law 418 of 1997 on the protection of persons at risk

Colombia’s Law 418 was the first protection mechanism to be established (in 1997). It is also the largest, with the biggest budget (although it should be noted that the programme covers other groups too, such as members of local authorities and former Presidents). In 2015, it covered some 1,810 HRDs and spent
US$23 million on bodyguards and vehicles alone. The mechanism was created by presidential decree,
subsequently undergoing a range of further developments and modifications brought in by different
decrees and resolutions, which have adapted it to varying administrative requirements, the demands
of HRDs, and decisions of the Colombian legal system. The mechanism has been severely criticised by
human rights organisations because, despite the breadth of its scope, the number of HRDs who have been threatened and murdered during its existence has increased.

Law 418 of 1997 ordered the Interior Ministry to establish a protection programme for people at risk as a consequence of the armed conflict and political violence. The programme has undergone numerous developments and modifications.29 The current Programa de Prevención y Protección de los derechos a la vida, la libertad, la integridad y la seguridad de personas, grupos y comunidades (Programme for Prevention and Protection of the Rights to Life, Liberty, Personal Integrity and Security of Persons, Groups and Communities) dates from 2011.

Read more on the national protection policies in Colombia in The Time is Now (Protection International, 2018).

Find the original document here (Gobierno de Colombia).