06.02.2015 – UN calls on Colombia to exclude children from bullfights

Bogotá, Colombia (February 6th, 2015). The United Nations (UN), through its Committee on the Rights of the Child, one of the nine human rights treaty bodies, has made an explicit pronouncement against the participation and the attendance of children at bullfighting events.

In 2014, Fondation Franz Weber presented a report that called the Committee's attention to bullfighting events taking place in Colombia, during which children and adolescents witness violent spectacles. The report also denounces the existence of bullfighting schools, where children are led to engage in these acts, in violation of the obligations set forth by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child - a binding treaty that is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

The Convention sets out the entitlement of all children to a standard of life that is suitable for their physical, mental, moral and social development, as well as the State's duty to adopt the measures that guarantee said protection to children. This is a requirement that is not fulfilled within the context of bullfighting, as stated by several members of the Committee.

Today the Committee has made public its position regarding the participation and attendance of minors at bullfights.

Natalia Parra, delegate for the Fondation Franz Weber in Colombia, was present at the Palais Wilson in Geneva to observe and participate in the session. At the meeting´s conclusion she stated: "Today we confirm that the violence of bullfighting not only victimizes bulls and horses, but also children and adolescents. In the future we shall realize that we are all victims, in one way or another, of any example of tolerated violence, and all the more so when the violence is applauded".

In reference to the measures that should be taken by the Colombian government, Natalia Parra noted "we are in the midst of a peace process, and this pronouncement could not have come at a better time: peace and respect for life in general is the culture that we should promote to our children". Parra went on to state that the Colombian “Senate has ratified the Convention and this obligates the Executive Branch to its implementation by legislative mandate. As such, the Executive Branch has no other alternative, as it is the guarantor of the rights enshrined in the Convention, while the Committee is in charge of the interpretations. The relevant measures will have to be applied without exception or excuse".

According to statements made by Anna Mulà, lawyer for the Foundation Franz Weber, “The principle of the best interests of the child, at the heart of the Convention, prevails over cultural diversity and over any legitimate interest that may conflict with it”.

 

Read the Final Observations of the Committee here.