Human Rights and Rule of Law in Colombia

Dora Lucy Arias fights for human rights and the rule of law in Colombia with the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (CCAJAR), trying to bring justice to the victims of military and paramilitary brutality. The conditions for human rights lawyers, judges, journalists, opposition politicians and trade unionists have often been difficult – sometimes involving targeted assassinations. Several years ago, an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General revealed that Colombia’s Department of Administrative Security, or DAS, a 6,500-employee intelligence agency operating under direction of the office of former president Alvaro Uribe, conducted sweeping wiretapping and surveillance initiatives, prying into bank accounts and emails, tapping landlines and cellular phones, drafting psychological reports and following targets to restaurants, work and the cinema. DAS even spied on the children of the CCAJAR lawyers. All told, AG investigators found a 5,000-page dossier on Arias and her colleagues.

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