United for Human Rights
BRINGING REFORM TO COLOMBIAN ARMY AND RESTORING “FAITH IN THE CAUSE”
For more than 50 years, Colombia has been torn by internal armed conflict, with the National Army and paramilitary groups waging a counterinsurgency war against left-wing guerrillas. During the bloody conflict, serious human rights violations have been perpetrated.
The scandal of the “false positives” (a test falsely detecting a condition that is not present) came to public view in 2008. It involved a series of murders in which members of the military dressed poor or mentally impaired civilians as insurgents, killed them and then presented them as insurgent casualties, earning promotions and other rewards with the inflated body count.
After radically reforming the military’s reward system for casualties, in 2009 the Colombian Minister of Defense established the School of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the Colombian National Army. From the outset, United for Human Rights provided training sessions and educational materials for the military personnel enrolled in the Army’s new school in Bogotá. This included thousands of DVD copies of The Story of Human Rights, an educational film and accompanying booklet chronicling human rights milestones through the ages, and 30 public service announcements illustrating the articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In addition to the Army’s School of Human Rights, training of the military utilizing United for Human Rights tools was provided through 26 Battalions of Instruction, Training and Retraining (BITER), and by Army bases and other military installations in the country.
From 2009 to 2014, United for Human Rights instructors and the Army’s School of Human Rights and Instruction Battalions trained 200,000 military personnel across all of the country’s 32 departments (states) and the Capital District of Bogotá, using the United for Human Rights materials.
In March 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Anstrongh Polania Ducuara, Director of the School of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the National Army of Colombia, described the impact of the United for Human Rights materials and training in these terms:
“Since 2009, when we adopted this campaign, respect and understanding of human rights have increased among our soldiers, officers and noncommissioned officers of the National Army of Colombia.
“In fact, since we started using the campaign materials to supplement our educational activity, we have seen an approximate 96% decrease in the number of complaints and allegations of human rights violations by the National Army.”
HUMAN RIGHTS GLOBAL EDUCATION
United for Human Rights, and its youth component Youth for Human Rights International, have forged partnerships with national organizations to develop and implement education and training programs on human rights in countries around the world. They include:
Ethiopia Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
Cameroon National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms
Mongolia National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia
HELP MAKE HUMAN RIGHTS A REALITY
Join the international human rights movement by becoming a member of United for Human Rights. UHR assists individuals, educators, organizations and governmental bodies in all parts of the world to raise awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.