On the 10th of December 2019, a group of social and human rights organisations filed a tutela action seeking protection of the fundamental rights of 10 human rights defenders in Colombia, even during the state of emergency installed due to COVID 19. On the first of May 2020, the High Court of Colombia ruled in favor of this request.
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”, 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.”
A tutela action 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).
Download the full sentence here.
 Taken from the first instance tutela decision of the 45th Civil Court of the Circuit of Bogotá, March 25, 2020.