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Colombian Foreign Policy on Human Rights

The Colombian Constitution states that international treaties and conventions ratified by the Congress, that recognize human rights and prohibit its limitation in states of emergency, prevail internally. The rights and duties devoted in the Constitution will be interpreted in conformity with the international treaties about human rights ratified by Colombia.

The general principles to work towards the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights and the International Humanitarian Law, that guide the Colombian government actions in this subject are:

• Ratification of all the basic international instruments adopted by the Organization of American States and the United Nations.

• Acceptance of the competency of bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Committee of the Pact on Civil and Political Rights.

• Maintenance of a permanent dialogue with reporters and working groups of the United Nations.

One of the components of the Colombian government's policy in regard to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law is the National Plan of Action. This Plan encompasses all the necessary actions and measures to improve the promotion, protection, respect and guaranteeing of Human Rights as well as the recommendations of the Vienna Declaration of 1993.

The objectives of the National Plan of Action are:

• Strengthen a culture of respect for human rights; consolidate institutional mechanisms for the protection of human rights and the International Humanitarian Law and promote their diffusion among the public.

• Continue the eradication of the impunity in the context of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

• Reduce the level of human rights and International Humanitarian Law violations

• Keep open the door for a dialogue with armed groups in order to contribute to the humanization of the conflict and to reach peace negotiations.

• Promote the adjustment of differences amongst State entities in order to move forward a coherent integral policy in regards to human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

• Design evaluation and performance mechanisms of policy implementation to identify the obstacles and advances periodically and systematically.

• Adapt the internal legislation to the international regulations of international instruments of human rights and facilitate the fulfillment of these compromises.

• Promote the exchange of information and dynamic collaboration between the government and civil society through existent legal and institutional mechanisms to strengthen the protection and respect of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The National Plan of Action is a Presidential Program on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law headed by the Vice President of Colombia and it is the governmental advisory agency for policies on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Additionally, it is managed by ministers and the High Commissioner for Peace and supported by the Fiscal's Office, Attorney's Office, and People Defender's Office. It has the mission of leading institutional coordination and promoting the actions of the various state entities concerned with promoting, protecting and defending Human Rights in Colombia.

The Colombian government has made invitations for permanent points of contact to be established in Colombia in the form of offices to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. These United Nations Agencies have been working closely with the Colombian government in these areas. In addition, the government works with the International Red Cross Committee and with non-governmental organizations.

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