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Danilo Rueda

Danilo Rueda

HRD, National Coordinator
ONG Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz – CIJP
Nominee - Front Line Defenders Award

To be a human rights defender in Colombia is to put your own life in danger - to risk the lives of your family or becoming another victim of the conflict between the armed forces, their paramilitary allies, and the armed opposition groups. Danilo Rueda is one of those who have demonstrated great courage in challenging the perpetrators of human rights abuses. For this reason, in 2009 he was one of the nominees for the Front Line Defenders Award.

We have to fight impunity: it is not acceptable that whenever there are threats, intimidation and attacks there is no investigation

Danilo Rueda is the National Coordinator of the NGO Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz – CIJP (Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace), a church-based human rights organisation working to expose human rights violations committed in the conflict regions of Colombia by state security forces and paramilitary groups. Members of the group including Danilo Rueda have been subjected to death threats and other acts of intimidation in the past as a result of their work in the defence of human rights. Danilo Rueda has developed protection and physical accompaniment strategies for the communities affected by grave human rights violations. His capacity for work and his perseverance in the fight for human rights for nineteen years has meant that, despite threats and challenges to his work, such as unfounded prosecutions, he has succeeded in developing the victims’ movement at an international level through the creation of the Red de alternativas a la Impunidad (Network of Alternatives to Impunity). He has also developed the Comisión Ética (Ethics Commission) and both these bodies document and safeguard evidence and testimonies from Colombian victims of human rights violations, so that in the future when conditions are appropriate, they may make the most of a Truth Commission.


HRDs in Colombia work in a violent and unsafe environment. They are subjected to threats, intimidation, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, physical assaults, torture, killings, illegal searches of their homes and offices and stigmatisation as a result of their activities in defence of human rights. The perpetrators of these abuses are frequently paramilitary groups, many of whom have links to the government or security services, or armed opposition groups. The continued frequent and severe threats and attacks against HRDs around the country contradict government claims of paramilitary demobilisation.


Human rights defenders speak out: Interview with Danilo Rueda