In April 2013, the second Universal Periodic Review of the human rights situation in Colombia took place in Geneva. The event was broadcast on national television for the first time - an important step in making the process more accessible and transparent.
Alirio Uribe said he was pleased that many countries, including the UK and Ireland, expressed concerns about the human rights situation in Colombia and made valuable recommendations to the Colombian state on critical issues.
There were also critical recommendations about the vulnerability of human rights defenders; gender-based violence; the military justice system and extrajudicial executions.
These recommendations are not new and have already been made by civil society organisations and the international diplomatic community. However, the fact that they were repeated by different countries adds to the pressure on the state to take action.
Prosecution of paramilitary groups
Despite many positive steps, a major obstacle in addressing violence and building peace - the paramilitary groups that still exist despite the 'demobilisation' many years ago - was largely ignored.
Judith Maldonado, from Christian Aid partner organisation the Colectivo de Abogados Luis Carlos Pérez (CCALCP), expressed her disappointment at the lack of strong recommendations for ensuring the effective investigation, prosecution and legal sanctioning against members of paramilitary groups and public servants who collaborate with them.
Human rights monitoring by UNHCHR
The United Nations High Commission of Human Rights (UNHCHR) plays a key role in monitoring the human rights situation in Colombia and making recommendations to the state. The office collaborates closely with civil society and often gives legitimacy and voice to victims of human rights violations.
UNHCHR's mandate has been extended for another three years, as a result of pressure from civil society and parts of the international diplomatic community.
The power of civil society organisations
It is ironic that while Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, it has one of the most active civil society communities, which embraces and makes full use of international human rights mechanisms.
Given the strength of the civil society organisations in Colombia, we feel confident that there will be a systematic and effective follow up on the UPR.