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Colombia: Death threats against over 60 human rights organisations and individual human rights defenders

Action Alert from Front Line, a member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition


Please take action on behalf of human rights defenders MOVICE, FUNDEPAZ and CODHES and others.

Copy the enclosed letter and send it to the address provided.

TARGET ADDRESS:

Presidente �lvaro Uribe V�lez, 
La Presidencia de la Rep�blica, 
Palacio de Nari�o, 
Carrera 8a, No 7-26, 
Santaf� de Bogot�, 
Colombia

LETTER:

Your Excellency,

Throughout the week beginning 12 April 2010, over 60 Colombian human rights organisations and individual human rights defenders, among them Movimiento de V�ctimas de Cr�mines de Estado(Movement of the Victims of State Crimes, MOVICE), Fundaci�n Desarollo y Paz (Development and Peace Foundation, FUNDEPAZ) and Consultoria para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement, CODHES), operating across a number of regions in the country have received death threats claiming to be from the right-wing paramilitary group Los Rastrojos.

Since 12 April 2010 over 60 human rights organisations and individual human rights defenders working in Nari�o, Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Putumayo, Risaralda, Quind�o, Tolima, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Meta, Boyac� and Antioquia have reported receiving death threats through an email and pamphlet campaign. In one such pamphlet, dated 10 April 2010, the perpetrators claim that following a long and exhaustive intelligence process which included surveillance and direct infiltration of groups, amongst other activities, and that having probed the links between those named and rebel groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), they can now declare those named to be permanent military objectives. The message, which bears the logo of the paramilitary organisation Los Rastrojos, further states that it is their intention to continue in their fight against such groups "whose sole objective is to fool others into believing their communist doctrines". It goes on to threaten that anything could happen to the leaders of these organisations if they are in Los Rastrojos' territory.

I believe that these threats are directly related to the legitimate human rights work carried out by MOVICE, FUNDEPAZ, CODHES and all of the others named in the aforementioned threats and that as well as constituting a genuine and dangerous threat, this form of intimidation is also aimed at stigmatising those who work to defend the rights of others in Colombia. I am gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the members of all the named organisations and the individual human rights defenders.

I urge the authorities in Colombia to:

  1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the death threats against MOVICE, FUNDEPAZ, CODHES and other organisations and individual human rights defenders with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  2. Publicly condemn any groups making unsubstantiated links between human rights organisations and guerrilla groups and publicly reaffirm the importance of the work of human rights defenders in Colombia;
  3. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of members of MOVICE, FUNDEPAZ, CODHES and all of the other organisations mentioned in the threat (see note at end of letter);
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Colombia are able to carry out their legitimate work in defence of human rights free from restrictions and reprisals.

Note - full list of organisations mentioned in the threat dated 10 April 2010:
Crear, Arco Iris, Comit� Departamental de Derechos Humanos, Fundepaz, Opddi, Fundhefem, Codhes, Fundemud, Movice, Pnud, Escuela de Los Pastos, Pastoral de Tumaco, UNIPA, Funhumana Jesus Corrales, Camawari, Corporaci�n Juridica Humanidad Vigente, Rosario Aguilar, C, N, D, Miryam Clemencia Ruiz Molina de Caldas, ACDPODEU, De Apartado, Asodesa de Salgar, Asoder de Rinegro Martha Lucia Casta�o, Lucila Casta�o de Medellin, Fanny Rojas de Medellin Cootrasol, Luis Morales Hurtado "Andes" Yasmin Alexandra Arango Marquez "JCF", Funhumana Risaralda "Javier a Sanchez, "Asocodeman" Progresar "Genero Gonzalez, Ramon Emilio Villa de Medellin y todas las organizaciones. Misael Delgado Rada, "Asosidemos" Morales, ADECAC de Bogota, Rosaliano, Riascosrodriguez" COOPMINH, Capitolinoria�o Camacho "Funsoyjus" Marco Bastidas "Asonacol" Jader Ancizar Chichambo de Tumaco "Rutber Mendez de Armenia" Asodecal Henry Rodriguez C" Jose Efrain Rivas de Pereira, "Francisco J Collazos, Del Valle, "Funcolb Ruben Florez Murillo, "Juan Carlos Castro de Redepaz Valle"Asopronir, "Alexander Lopez "Senador" Jorge Enrrique Robledo" Guillermo Jaramillo "Senador, Colectivo de Abogados Jose Valvear Restrepo "Luis Eduardo A�es, Alfonso Caicedo, Hermana Alba Estela, Hipolito Rennteria, Fredy Guerrero, Felipe Flor, Polodemocratico de las regiones donde tenemos juridiccion y sus integrantes [sic].

April 27, 2010