FCO Human Rights Report 2019
No specific mention of FoRB.
APPG Commentary on the current state of Freedom of Religion or Belief 2019
The main religion in Colombia is Christianity, with 79% of the population professing Catholicism and a further 14% estimated to be Protestants. Approximately 5% of the population do not specify that they have a religion.123 Indigenous religions and Afro-Colombian religions are also present in Colombia.
Particular conflict zones throughout the country are the background to the majority of FoRB violations in Colombia with illegal armed groups exercising significant autonomy to the detriment of the Christian population. Substantial numbers of Colombian church leaders face the persistent threat of assassination, with the Bogotá mayor’s office reporting in 2018 that as many as 12.6% of all religious leaders in the area had received death threats. In addition, 4.1% had faced extortion and 3.9% had been threatened with kidnapping. Targeted leaders are usually those who challenge the presence of organised crime and illegal activities or those helping victims of the internal armed conflict.
Families of religious leaders are often targeted as a means of coercing acts of compliance. On 9 February 2019, it was reported that Pastor Leider Molina was killed as he left his church in the Caucasia region in the northwest of the country.
Armed groups have perceived the conversion of young Christian girls, through forced marriages, as a way of stemming the influence and reach of Christianity in indigenous communities. Once married to indigenous members, the girls must renounce their faith. In addition, they must obey the will and ruling of their husbands, being simultaneously prevented from communicating with Christian family members. Rejection of such arrangements can often result in displacement, abuse and isolation. It was reported in April 2019 that a 17-year-old girl was exiled to the mountains for refusing to denounce her faith under pressure from local authorities.
In some areas, freedom of assembly has been prohibited or severely restricted. In others, strict curfews have been put in place. Roadblocks restrict freedom of movement for church members who are subject to a persistent policy of stop-and-search, even if they are known members of the community. Church leaders are forced by armed groups to give refuge to guerrillas in their homes,
In the UK Parliament, 2020
USCIRF report 2020 – no mention