Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie

NARIÑO BATALLION ATTACKS COMMUNITY OF EL PARAISO IN SOUTHERN BOLIVAR PROVINCE

9 Juin 2015

The undersigned organizations urgently bring the following facts to the attention of the public and the Colombian and international human rights bodies:
 
1. On the afternoon of Saturday, May 23, 2015, at Mina Piojo, municipality of Montecristo, there were flyovers and flares were fired, causing panic in the community; the Magdalena Medio office of the People’s Ombudsman was informed of these flyovers.
 
2. On the morning of May 31, 2015, five groups of troops from the “General Antonio Nariño” Infantry Battalion No. 4, Second Division of the National Army, disembarked from helicopters in the community of El Paraíso, municipality of Montecristo.
 
3. After they disembarked, they held the community of El Paraíso in confinement for the whole day, impeding their freedom of movement and communication. Two members of the community were detained: Willington Tovar Ordoñez, ID no. 3.873.043, age 39, a small-scale miner and the son of a leader of the Mining and Agriculture Federation of Southern Bolívar; and Einer García Valencia, age 15, son of a pastor of the Christian churches of El Paraíso. The two were initially taken to the El Juncal military base in the municipality of Aguachica, and later to the city of Barranquilla, charged with rebellion.
 
4. The National Army stated that this was an operation against the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional–ELN); however, the operations impacted on the rights of communities not involved in the conflict and constitute a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
 
5. It is worrying that these actions are being taken by the National Army against the civilian population of southern Bolívar while nothing is being done with regard to the paramilitary groups based in the municipality of Montecristo and throughout southern Bolívar department.
 
Our demands are as follows:
The Government of Colombia must:
- Fully comply with the Geneva protocols as regards protecting the rights of people and communities not involved in the conflict.
- Suspend all military operations that involve restrictions on civilians’ freedom of movement.
- Refrain from ordering indiscriminate bombardment or shelling.
 
The Chief Criminal Prosecutor (Fiscal General) of Colombia must:
- Initiate criminal investigations to identify and bring to justice those army members who violated international humanitarian law on May 31, 2015 in the community of El Paraíso.
- Provide guarantees of due process for the persons detained, who are civilians and members of the community of El Paraíso.
 
The Office of the Inspector General (Procuraduría General) of Colombia must:
- Initiate the appropriate criminal investigations to identify and punish those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law against the civilian population of El Paraíso.
- Urge the military units of the region to observe and abide by all provisions of international humanitarian law.
 
The Magdalena Medio office of the People’s Ombudsman must:
- Follow up on this complaint and urge the military units of the region to observe and abide by all provisions of international humanitarian law. 
 
The Family Health and Social Services Agency (Instituto de Bienestar Familiar) must:
- Ensure that the fundamental rights of the minor Eider García Valencia are protected and that he is returned to his family at once.
 
The United Nations must:
- Follow up on this complaint.
- Urge the military units of the region to observe and abide by all provisions of international humanitarian law.
 
The human rights NGOS must:
- Relay this urgent action to the Colombian and international human rights bodies.
- Demand that the Government of Colombia comply with all provisions of international humanitarian law.
 
Please send letters to:
 
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN
President of the Republic of Colombia
Telephone: 5662071, Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71
Address: Carrera 8 No. 7 -26 Palacio de Nariño - Bogotá
 
JUAN FERNANDO CRISTO 
Minister of the Interior 
Telephone: (571) 2427400 Ext 1200 - 1203.
Address: Casa La Giralda: Carrera 8 No. 7- 83, Bogotá.
 
ALEJANDRO ORDOÑEZ MALDONADO
Procurador General de la Nación
Telephone: (571) 5878750 
Address: Cra. 5 No.15 – 80F Bogotá D.C.
 
LUIS EDUARDO MONTEALEGRE
Fiscal General de la Nación
Telephone nos.: 570 20 00 - 414 90 00
Address: Diagonal 22B No. 52-01. Bogotá, D.C.
 
JORGE ARMANDO OTALORA
Defensor del Pueblo Nacional
Fax: (+571) 6400491
Address: Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá
 
Signed:
FEDERACION AGROMINERA DEL SUR DE BOLIVAR – FEDEAGROMISBOL
CAPITULO DE VICTIMAS SUR DE BOLIVAR – SUR DEL CESAR Y CATATUMBO
ESPACIO DE TRABAJADORES Y TRABAJADORAS DE DERECHOS HUMANOS – BARRANCABERMEJA
COMITÉ DE SOLIDADARIDAD CON LOS PRESOS POLITICOS – BUCARAMANGA
CORPORACION SEMBRAR
CORPORACION NOMADESC
ASOCIACION PAZ CON DIGNIDAD

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