Joint Stakeholder Submission - Colombia, 44th Universal Periodic Review

Dejusticia, Fundación Karisma, and Privacy International submitted a joint stakeholder report on Colombia to the 44th session of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.

Front page UPR report

Dejusticia, Fundación Karisma, and Privacy International submitted a joint stakeholder report on Colombia to the 44th session of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.

Our submission raised concerns regarding the protection of the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, to privacy, and to personal data protection; the shutdown of civil society spaces; protection of the right to protest; and protection of the rights of the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population.


  1. Revise the legal framework governing surveillance in Colombia, especially the Intelligence Law and the Police Code, to ensure that it complies with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly article 17, and that any interference with the right to pri- vacy is necessary and strictly proportional to the objective pursued.
  2. Regulate the state’s power to monitor the internet and ensure that such regulation is in line with international human rights law standards. This includes establishing limits, checks and balances, oversight and accountability mechanisms, and sanctions for abuses that include remedies for victims.
  3. Amend Resolutions 2774 of 2013 and 1823 of 2018 of the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications in order to prevent security agencies from using signal jamming devices without a warrant. These amendments should prohibit the use of jammers that prevent the communication and circulation of information under the pretext of maintaining public order. They should also respect the principles of proportionality, legality, and legitimacy in the use of this technology and create clear channels to monitor its use by the state.
  4. Regulate cyber-patrolling activities so that they are confined to inves- tigating cybercrime and common-law offenses, as well as to protecting people in the digital environment from cyber threats. The regulations should provide for limits, controls, monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and penalties for abuses, including remedies for victims, and should prohibit the use of cyber-patrolling to categorize news as false or to stigmatize protestors.
  5. Comply with national and international protocols and standards on the use of force in the context of social gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, adhering to the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality, in order to ensure that force is used as a last resort.
  6. Avoid the use of criminal law to prosecute people who participate in, convene, organize, or lead social protests. Initiating legal proceed- ings and charging people with crimes without the required evidence weakens democracy, discourages public participation, infringes the right to protest, and affects community leadership.
  7. Guarantee expediency, transparency, and impartiality in disciplinary and criminal proceedings against police officers involved in human rights violations committed in order to ensure that victims have access to justice.
  8. Regulate the use of information from the National Civil Registry data- bases, particularly biometric data, to ensure that such information cannot be used for mass surveillance purposes.
  9. Before incorporating technologies, especially biometrics, into national identity documents, conduct comprehensive human rights impact assessments and ensure that any such decisions are subject to dem- ocratic deliberation.
  10. Ensure the transparency of mechanisms used to distribute social assistance (such as SISBEN and the Universal Income Registry), and guarantee that there are efficient and clear channels to update or correct the personal data contained in these databases.
  11. Adopt measures to regulate the use of new technologies in the health care sector to ensure the protection of users’ human rights, particularly those who are members of vulnerable or marginalized communities.
  12. Cease the collection of personal data through applications developed to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure that the use and cir- culation of the data already gathered does not exceed the purposes for which it was originally collected.
  13. Adopt legislation to effectively address gender-based violence that is facilitated by the internet or technologies. Such legislation should respect the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and privacy.
  14. Comply with its obligation to adopt legislative measures to effectively address gender-based violence that is facilitated by the internet or
  15. Review the barriers preventing access to the ETPMV in order to make regularization accessible to Venezuelan migrants over the long term and to facilitate their future stability in Colombia. In this regard, it is important to highlight that this regularization measure should not absolve the Colombian state of its responsibility to guarantee interna- tional protection for or to confer refugee or stateless status on those who require it.
  16. Stop the disproportionate capture of biometric data of migrant pop- ulations and regulate in a clear and specific manner the allowed uses of such databases as well as the security guarantees and the time periods for their validity.
  17. Ensurethatthemigrantandrefugeepopulationhasaccesstoworkas guaranteed under international and national human rights standards on decent work, which include paying a fair income, providing access to social security and job security, and protecting the right to paid rest periods and the right to organize and participate.96
  18. Strengthen and expand awareness raising activities and trainings on current and future guidelines concerning the education-related rights of migrant children and adolescents (e.g., Circular 016, modifications to Decree 1075 of 2015, and ICFES circulars) with schools and secre- tariats of education.

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