Appeal for CCAJAR Protection

Peter Noorlander, Director, Bertha Justice Initiative
November 22, 2016[ultimatesocial networks="facebook,twitter,linkedin" count="false" align="left" skin="round" url="" ]

Out of its ongoing concern for the security of Be Just Fellow alumna Yessika Hoyos and the other lawyers of the Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR), Bertha Foundation supported an attorney, through the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), to be in Colombia from 14-19 November 2016. In addition to meeting Colombian authorities about the intensifying threats and security risks faced by lawyers at CCAJAR, the ISLP representative also acted as an independent trial observer for the 18 November hearing for the murder of trade unionist Jorge Dario Hoyos Morales.
Ahead of these recent activities, and as follow-up to the appeal for protection that the Bertha Justice Network issued in July 2016, the Bertha Justice Initiative sent this letter to President Santos:

London, November 15th, 2016


Juan Manuel Santos

President of the Republic of Colombia.

Bogotá D.C.


Mr. President

Cordial greetings from the Bertha Foundation.

In July, member organizations of the Bertha Justice Initiative network communicated with your Office in relation to the protection of the lawyers from the José Alvear Resterpo Lawyer’s Collective – CCAJAR, especially in relation to the risk faced by Bertha Justice Fellow alumni Yessika Hoyos. We appreciate the response from the National Protection Unit of Colombia, dated 20 September. CCAJAR is in the process of collecting the documents requested to ensure Yessika’s security within the framework of the collective protection route, and within the framework of the Program of Protection and Prevention.

As you know, the trial is currently underway against one of the parties responsible for the murder of Yessika’s father and trade union leader, Jorge Dario Hoyos.  The trial will continue this 18 of November when the human rights defender will appear as witness.

Given this context, we want to inform you that a partner of the Bertha Justice Initiative – the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) of London – will carry out an Observation Mission between the 16 and 19 of November, in Bogotá, to observe the trial and meet with state authorities such as the National Protection Unit, Ministry of Defense, Presidential Advisor for Human Rights, Prosecutor General of the Nation and the Human Right’s Ombudseman’s Office, in relation to intimidating actions that have taken place against several of CCAJAR’s lawyers.

Therefore, and taking into account the background, we ask that you intervene, within the framework of your mandate, to provide all necessary guarantees for this mission.




Peter Noorlander

Director, Bertha Justice Initiative

Bertha Foundation


Peter Noorlander

Director, Bertha Justice Initiative

Follow Bertha Justice Initiative at @Be_Just_

Follow Peter Noorlander at @PeterNoorlander

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