Ruling of the Tutela Action on the Right To Defend Human Rights in Colombia

Protection International

The orders of the ruling are a legal and political advance for the guarantee of the right to defend human rights. For this reason, Protection International produced an infographic piece that summarizes the content of the ruling, which is essential for the development of collective and organizational capacities of groups, collectives and individuals who defend human rights in Colombia.

Taking into account that “the defense of human rights is a fundamental right in itself, and that not even in declared states of emergency is the exercise of fundamental rights suspended, nor can they be limited “1 , the second instance ruling in a tutela action brought by social and human rights organizations confirmed the order to the Colombian government to protect the right to defend human rights in the midst of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The ruling in this tutela action, which also protected the rights of a group of human rights leaders due to their serious security situation, highlighted the Colombian State’s obligation to protect those who defend human rights “to guarantee them the exercise of their vital mission in society and, of course, their fundamental rights to life and personal integrity. “2

What is the tutela action according to the Political Constitution of Colombia?

It is a mechanism for the protection of human rights to which any person in the national territory may resort when their fundamental constitutional rights are being violated, either by a private individual or a public authority. The tutela action may be used at any time, even in states of exception (Article 86 of the Political Constitution of Colombia).

1- Taken from the first instance tutela decision of the 45th Civil Court of the Circuit of Bogotá, March 25, 2020.
2- Taken from the second instance tutela decision of the First Civil Chamber of the Superior Court of Bogotá, on May 11, 2020.

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