Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie

Death threats sent to Human Rights organizations

21 April 2008

On 10 April 2008, several social and human rights organizations received a threatening email from a paramilitary group called "Águilas Negras, Bloque Norte de Colombia" ( Black Eagles, North Division of Colombia). The group declared as targets for assassination members of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation (the Federation), Sembrar Corporation (a human rights organization), the Program for Development and Peace in the Middle Magdalena (Programa) and the parish priests of two rural communities, Tiquisio and Regidor, in southern Bolivar province.

The email threat reads "We wish to warn you that as of this moment you are military targets of our organization and that your names are on the national government's list of undesirables who must be eliminated. We, former combatants of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), believe that we must free our towns, neighborhoods and country from people like you… guerrilla fighters dressed as civilians."

The threat comes shortly after the people mentioned in the email were gathered in Tiquisio for the Federation's regional assembly from 26-30 March 2008. During this time, the Colombian military and National Police tried on several occasions to enter the area where the assembly was being held in an effort to identify the leaders. The people gathered spoke with the authorities, asking them to respect their space and right to gather. After expending much effort to enter, the authorities left. The military has assassinated several members of the Federation and community leaders in the Southern Bolivar region and then later claimed that they were guerrilla fighters killed in combat (see
http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2006/09/29/colombia-urgent-action-ask-colombian-government-meet-miners). The military has also mounted legal cases against leaders in the area to have them arrested and weaken the social struggle (see http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2007/04/28/colombia-miners039-federation-president-arrested). Christian Peacemaker Teams was present during the assembly and witnessed the threatening harassment from the police and military.

The Federation assembly was followed by two days (1-2 April) of meetings in the city of Barrancabermeja between the Southern Bolivar Roundtable for Dialogue (composed of many other community processes including the Federation) and institutions of the local, regional and national governments. Issues discussed were security in the region, legal and military harassment of leaders in the area and legal recognition of small miners among others. During these meetings, the government officials present said, "Due to the troubling human rights situation in the Southern Bolivar region the Ministry of Mining and the Governor of Bolivar commit to organizing a meeting as soon as possible with the office of the Vice-President, Attorney General's office… to deal with the problems and adopt measures to overcome the existing crisis." To this date, no meeting has been arranged and no measures have been taken to overcome the crisis. CPT was also present during these two days of meetings with the Colombian government and witnessed the commitments made to the Roundtable.

- Given the seriousness of the threats we ask you to call, fax or email the Colombian authorities listed bellow to demand the following:

1 Security and freedom for the leaders and members of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation, Sembrar Corporation, the Program for Development and Peace in the Middle Magdalena and the parish priests of the rural communities of Tiquisio and Regidor.

2. The calling of the meeting that was agreed to on 2 April 2008.

3. An end to the military and judicial harassment of legitimate and legally constituted social and human rights organizations and church representatives in the Southern Bolivar province.

Also, we call upon all people to hold in prayer the people mentioned in the threats and all the residents of the Southern Bolivar region who live in fear of daily violence from armed actors or multinational companies who use the tools of war to exploit the wealth of the land.

Phone calls or faxes are most effective, although they may be expensive and phone calls require fluency in Spanish.

E-mail messages should be short and to the point. Identify yourself and where you are from, and demand for a full investigation of the recent threats.

Sample letter in Spanish:

Respetado Dr. (or Coronel) ______________:

Reciba un saludo cordial de *____(your name)____* de *___(your state or
province and country)___*

Gracias por el trabajo que usted o su oficina esta haciendo para investigar las amenazas hechas en contra de la Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar –Fedeagromisbol-, Corporaci­ón Sembrar, Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Magdalena Medio organizaciones sociales defensoras de derechos humanos, que trabajan en el Sur de Bolívar y los sacerdotes de Regidor y Tiquisio Sur de Bolívar, el día 10 de abril de 2008 por el grupo paramilitar llamado "Águilas Negras." Tambi­­én quiero animarle que su gobierno trabaje decididamente en el desmonte real de los grupos paramilitares que amenazan, atentan y asesinan* *a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas que no comparten sus aberrantes métodos de control social.

Solicito:

1. Que se garantice el derecho a la vida, libertad, integridad personal y asociación de los integrantes de la Federación Agromineradel Sur de Bolívar – Fedeagromisbol, la Corporación Sembrar, el Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Magdalena Medio y los integrantes de las Diócesis de Magangue y Barrancabermeja, en especial los directamente amenazados.
2. Sean detenidamente investigados los hechos aquí denunciados, procediendo a la sanción de los autores de los mismos.
3. Por parte del Procurador General de la Nación, se inicie, a la mayor brevedad la revisión y depuración de los archivos de inteligencia de la Fuerza Pública en la región, en tanto los mismos como hoy se evidencia, son un factor de riesgo para los habitantes de la región.
4. Se convoque a la mayor brevedad, la reunión que fue acordada con los delegados del Ministerio de Minas, Ingeominas y Gobernación de Bolívar en la ciudad de Barrancabermeja el pasado 2 de abril de 2008.

A través de mi apoyo a los Equipos Cristianos de Acción por la Paz, conozco los procesos comunitarios del Sur de Bolívar y me preocupa que estas últimas amenazas sean una forma de cerrar el espacio de construcción comunitaria que
han ido ganando estas organizaciones.

Por este motivo le pedimos que haga todo lo posible para investigar estos crímenes y llevar a justicia los responsables.

Muchas gracias por la atención prestada,

___(your name)___

Addresses:

Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez
President of Colombia
Fax. 011 (571) 566 20 71
Email: auribe@presidencia.gov.co

Dr. Francisco Santos
Vice-president of Colombia
Email: fsantos@presidencia.gov.co

Dr. Carlos Franco
Director of Vice-presidency Human Rights Programs,
Fax: 011 (571) 565 97 97 ext. 744
E-Mail: cefranco@presidencia.gov.co

Dr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón,
Defense Minister,
Email: siden@mindefensa.gov.co

infprotocol@mindefensa.gov.co, mdn@cable.net.co

Dr. Mario Iguarán Arana
Fiscal General de la Nación (Attorney General)
Telephone: 011 (571) 570 20 00 Fax: 011 (571) 414 91 08
E-Mail: denuncias@fiscalia.gov.co

Dr. Edgardo Jose Maya Villazón
National Solicitor General
Telephone: 011 (571) 336 00 11
E-Mail: cap@procuraduria.gov.co
quejas@procuraduria.gov.co

Dr. Carlos Holguin Sardi
Ministro of Interior and Justice
Email: ministro@minjusticia.gov.co

Wolmar Antonio Perez Ortiz
Human Rights Ombudsman
Fax. 011 (571) 640 04 91
Email: defensoria@defensoria.org.co, secretaria_privada@hotmail.com

Author: 
Redher

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