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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Protests in Colombia

Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 1:00pm
Virtual via Cisco WebEx


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing to examine from a human rights perspective the causes and consequences of the recent wave of protests in Colombia.

In April, Colombian President Ivan Duque presented a proposal for a tax reform that would have increased the tax burden on middle-class families squeezed by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal sparked a wave of protests and strikes throughout the country that have continued since, revealing broad discontent with worsening poverty, inequality and insecurity. Similar protests flared in November 2019 but ended with the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. According to official statistics from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), 3.5 million people have been pushed into poverty since the pandemic began, with the result that 43 percent of the population earns less than enough to satisfy basic needs. The number of people living in extreme poverty in the capital city Bogota nearly tripled in the last year, while the health crisis has laid bare the extreme vulnerability of those in the bottom sextile of income who work disproportionately in the informal sector. Growing food insecurity, mounting rural violence and the state’s heavy-handed response to the protests, in which up to 47 people had been killed as of June 22, have further exacerbated already widespread anger and frustration. Some observers have expressed concern that actors inside or outside the country could take advantage of legitimate grievances to advance their interests.

Witnesses will discuss the underlying causes of the protests and the government’s response, and offer policy recommendations for Congress.

This hearing will be virtual. Pursuant to H. Res. 965, Members of Congress and witnesses will participate remotely via Cisco WebEx. Members of the public and the media may view the hearing by live webcast on the Commission website and will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi (for Co-Chair Smith).

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I          


Submitted for the Record


117th Congress