No. 30/01



          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will conduct an on-site visit to the Republic of Colombia, at the invitation of the Government, from December 7 to 13, 2001.  The Commission will be visiting Colombia to observe the situation of human rights in that country.


The IACHR is a principal organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), composed of seven members elected in their individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly.  Its mandate is to promote the observance of human rights in the Hemisphere according to standards established in the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Colombia has been a party since 1973.  Member states of the OAS and states parties to the Convention have undertaken to extend to the IACHR all the facilities it needs in order to carry out its observation missions with complete freedom in the pursuit of its mandate.


The IACHR delegation that will visit Colombia as of Friday, December 7, will be composed of its President, Dean Claudio Grossman; its First Vice President, Dr. Juan E. Méndez; its Second Vice President, Dr. Marta Altolaguirre; and its other members, Professor Robert K. Goldman, Professor Hélio Bicudo, Mr. Peter Laurie, and Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo.  Technical support to the Commission will be provided by its Executive Secretary, Dr. Santiago A. Canton, and by attorneys Verónica Gómez, Mario López, and Ignacio Alvarez.  Administrative support will be provided by Gabriela Hageman, Gloria Hansen, and Gloria Molina.  Also participating in the delegation will be Debora Benchoam and Victoria Amato, representing the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Americas, headed by Dr. Santiago A. Canton.


During its seven-day stay in Colombia, the IACHR delegation will meet with government officials and with representatives of various sectors of civil society in the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Barrancabermeja.  The IACHR receives written reports of alleged human rights violations during its visits.  The Commission will be housed at the Hotel Tequendama.  It will conclude its visit on December 13, 2001, with a press conference at the Hotel Tequendama, in Bogotá, at 9:30 a.m.


The Commission is grateful for the cooperation and facilities extended by the Government of Colombia and by nongovernmental organizations and other civil society organizations in planning and preparing for this visit.


Washington, D.C., December 3, 2001