According to the U.S. Department of State 2003 human rights report for Colombia, Colombia
’s human rights' record, despite significant improvements by police and military forces in some areas, remained poor.
Although an increasingly small percentage of total human rights abuses reported were attributed to security forces, some members continued to commit serious abuses, including unlawful and extrajudicial killings
. Some members collaborated with the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia paramilitary
terrorist group, which has committed serious abuses. Allegations of forced disappearances and kidnappings
remained. In 2003 there were allegations of arbitrary arrests and detentions, and prolonged pretrial detention remained a fundamental problem. Impunity
remained at the core of the country's human rights problems.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech
and the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. Individuals criticize the government both publicly and in private, and the media express a wide spectrum of political viewpoints and often sharply criticize the government, all without fear of government reprisal.
However, journalists practice self-censorship
to avoid retaliation and harassment by criminals and members of illegal armed groups. Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in which to practice the profession of journalism; a number of journalists are killed almost every year, and... Read More