Arguello, Soraya

Arguello, Soraya

Soraya Arguello

13 August 2011Feature

Continuing our recent focus on Colombia, Peace News met with Soraya Gutierrez Arguello, president of CAJAR (the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers' Collective, based in Bogota) for a chat about the struggle of human rights defenders operating in one of the most violent countries in the world, and the pros and cons of using the legal framework to challenge the culture of impunity.

Soraya began her human rights work when she became a lawyer in 1986 -- a period which she describes as “a very hard time in Colombian history; it was a time when political assassinations and massacres of a great part of the people's social movement of Colombia were on the rise”.

The collective has been protected by Peace Brigades International (PBI) volunteers, as Soraya and her colleagues suffer threats and intimidation on a daily basis from Colombia's security and paramilitary…