Washington, D.C. and Bogotá, October 2nd, 2020: In the beginning of 2020, Semana reported that at least 130 people, including journalists, social leaders, politicians, magistrates, human rights defenders, Colombian trade unionists, and foreigners were allegedly the targets of illegal interception, profiling, and monitoring carried out by agents of the Colombian army in 2019.
National and international civil society organizations, as well as rapporteurs from the United Nations and the IACHR, reported that the pattern of surveillance described is part of a long history of illegal surveillance. Although new technologies were used to carry out tasks such as the interception of cellular phone calls, the Colombian state has practiced similar methods in the past, targeting those who are labeled “enemies of Colombia.” Two past examples of this are the cases of the “Chuzadas del DAS” from 2003 to 2009 and the 2014 Andromeda Operation.
According to the IACHR, every time that illegal interceptions occur, the information collected is used as a weapon to “facilitate the extrajudicial executions of human rights workers at the hands of State security forces or paramilitary groups.” The digitization of this process is even more worrisome in Colombia, a country with one of the highest rates of homicide against leaders in the world.
An air of impunity surrounds the improper use of state intelligence mechanisms. Despite the events of recent years, no criminal sanctions have been issued to the perpetrators. There has not been a real dismantling of the structures that contribute to this phenomenon. Even when a new law was created to increase supervision of intelligence services, with the ADS disbanded and the National Intelligence Directorate (DNI) created as a substitutive entity, the illegal monitoring of human rights defenders and journalists continues. There has not been a purge or removal of former DAS officers implicated in illegal scandals. As such, there is no possibility of exercising effective control over state or military intelligence organizations.
Faced with all of the above, the petitioning organizations and people will denounce the most recent interceptions before the IACHR. The petitioners will outline proposals to guarantee that these acts will not happen again and to ensure that those accountable are not treated with impunity; and that illegal monitoring, profiling, and surveillance will not prevail in Colombia.
DÍA Y HORA: Lunes 5 de octubre 11:00 - 12:30 pm HRS DC / 10:00 - 11:30 HRS CO
LUGAR: a través del Facebook de la CIDH: https://www.facebook.com/CIDH.OEA y las redes de las organizaciones peticionarias: Corporación Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR) / Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL) / Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (CCJ / Comité de Solidaridad con Presos Políticos (CSPP) / Privacy International / Senador Iván Cepeda Castro / Senador Gustavo Bolívar Moreno / Representante de la Cámara María José Pizarro