The first thing that the traveller from Bogotá notices when stepping off the plane in Quibdó is the humidity. A captivating if violent city nestled amidst the tropical jungle of the Chocó, one heads for the banks of the Atrato river, from where arises a gentle breeze, to cool down a little. As the day wears on, heavy rain also lowers the mercury. Quibdó is one of the wettest places on earth.
The city centre hugs the Atrato. The city’s – and diocese’s – cathedral stands tall over neighbouring buildings. Across the road from its mother church, right on the river banks, lies its operational headquarters, a collection of offices, meeting rooms and a small chapel.
Jorge is a well established Colombian human rights lawyer and defender who was traveling around Europe during May and June to raise awareness of human rights and justice in Colombia (or the lack of it) and to collect the 2015 award from Lawyers for Lawyers for his remarkable work and courage. During his short visit to London, which was hosted by the Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers’ Group and Peace Brigades International UK (PBI), Jorge gave a conference on transitional justice in Colombia at the Law Society and spoke to MPs, the Foreign Office, NGOs working on Colombia and the interested public. He also spoke to Gemma Sunyer, on CAHR's LLM in International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, about the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia. This is what he said,
‘threats and attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia are not isolated events targeted against specific individuals, they are a generalised practice that affect a wide range of defenders’.