Bogotá, June 3, 2022

The Coordination Colombia Europe United States, CCEEU, denounces to public opinion, state authorities and the international community the systematic acts of aggression and harassment that have occurred in the last 6 months against members and organizations that are part of this national human rights platform, aggravated in the context of the electoral process that is taking place in the country, which we list below:

  1. On May 31, a threat on behalf of the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, titled: Comunicado a la opinión publica-Departamento del Cesar, where with sexist and profane words it threatens Movicem, Elcy Serna Gómez, Amanda Arrieta, Ruta Pacifica Dunia León in the south of Bolívar, Somos defensoras, Johana Sáenz and the Ilsa Foundation headed by María Eugenia Brisneida, for their support to the victims within the processes advanced in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, JEP. The threat contains photos with skulls of the defenders and victims delivering a report to the JEP. Ilsa is an organization that is part of the Central Node of the CCEEU.
  2. On May 29 in the city of Bucaramanga, while election day was taking place, Eliana Zafra, member of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Norte de Santander, was arbitrarily detained without justification and released moments later without explanation.
  3. On May 26, lawyer Yessika Hoyos Morales of the “José Alvear” Lawyers’ Collective, who represents before the JEP Mr. Alfonso Mora León, father of Jenner Alfonso Mora, victim of the Mondoñedo massacre, committed by members of the National Police-Dijin on September 6 and 7, 1996, received death threats via telephone messages. Mr. Mora Leon received similar threatening messages on his telephone. The day before, Wednesday, May 25, there was an illegal entry into the home of the defender. This intimidating act, as well as the aforementioned threat, were already brought to the attention of the investigative authorities.

Previously, Sebastián Escobar, also a Cajar lawyer, had received telephone threats directed at him, as well as at the victim he represents before the JEP, Mr. Juan David Díaz, son of the former mayor of the municipality of El Roble, department of Sucre, Eudaldo Díaz Salgado, who was forcibly disappeared and murdered on April 10, 2003 after unsuccessfully petitioning the president of the time, Álvaro Uribe, to guarantee his life in the face of the threats he had received.

  1. On May 24, the Villavicencio headquarters of the Colectivo Socio Jurídico Orlando Fals Borda, COFB, was the object of an attempt to gain access by force, violating the door and the lock of the headquarters. Other members of this institution have been followed, pressured and subjected to threatening and intimidating phone calls. In the region of Alto and Bajo Ariari, COFB teams have been the object of impersonation of their work in the communities. Previously, on May 5, a man had entered the same headquarters unannounced and with an intimidating attitude had sought information on the activities and identity of members of the team in the plains, where they represent a large number of victims of State crimes before the JEP.
  2. On May 20, in the city of Medellín, a member of the Peasant Association of Northern Antioquia was pursued by armed men on a motorcycle after participating in a rally of the Historical Pact in that city, for which he had to take refuge in the facilities of the University of Antioquia. During this year, Carlos Palacio, member of the Campesino Association of Northern Antioquia, ASCNA, and spokesperson for the CCEEU’s Operative Committee, has been the target of harassment by the commander of Artillery Battalion No. 4, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Cabrera, who has made statements questioning his status as a human rights defender.

This is related to his denunciations of the actions of the National Army in the Cañón de San Pablo[1] that are described as work to favor illegal groups, when they are self-protection activities of these communities, which have included the installation of gates to protect themselves from habitual aggressors and for which they have been tried and prosecuted. Additionally, profiles have been created on social networks discrediting the work of Carlos Palacio in the defense of human rights, stating that it aims to affect the work of the security forces and favor illegal groups. On Saturday, May 18, the ASCNA headquarters in Anorí was the target of acts of intimidation during a joint patrol by the Army and the National Police, where weapons were pointed at the headquarters, photographs were taken and threats were made against its occupants.

  1. In mid-May, pamphlets were distributed in the department of Cauca in the name of the Black Eagles in which death threats were made against Edwin Guetio and Rusbel Collazos, indigenous leaders, as well as ACIN, INDEPAZ, CRIC and ACOC, member organizations of the CCEEU, under the pretext that they supported the Historical Pact in the region. Edwin Guetio, representing CRIC, is a delegate to the Southwest Node of the CCEEU.
  2. Last January 19, around 10 p.m., while about 50 people and social leaders were gathered, a car bomb exploded in the vicinity of the “Héctor Alirio Martínez” building in Saravena, headquarters of several social organizations in the department of Arauca, affecting the structure of the headquarters of the Movimiento Político de Masas Social y Popular Centro Oriente de Colombia, where social and human rights organizations work [2] among which are several that are part of the CCEEU. The explosion caused the death of the security guard of an adjacent building and 40 wounded, among them 5 members of social organizations. This attack was claimed by the so-called 28th front of the so-called dissidents of the FARC, who have made subsequent threats to various leaders and social organizations and human rights defenders in that department in the context of the dispute they have with the ELN for territorial control in this region of the country, one of the areas with a high presence of the security forces and where the guarantees for the exercise of the defense of human rights by the State are precarious.
  3. On November 13, 2021, the lawyer for the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners and spokesperson for the Northeast Node of the CCEEU, Adriana Lizarazo, received numerous WhatsApp messages on her cell phone from an individual who identified himself as a member of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC). These messages showed that the AGC had private information about the human rights defender, her place of residence, work and family, and insistently requested a meeting with the human rights defender, indicating that otherwise they would take reprisals against her. When she did not respond to any of the messages, the individual threatened her with death and declared the Santander section of the CSPP and its members as a military target, sending photos of weapons and of an unknown individual dressed in military clothing and an armband with the initials of the AGC.

Given the proliferation, intensity, systematicity and impunity with which these aggressions have been occurring and repeating themselves, the CCEEU demands:

To President Iván Duque: To comply with his obligations to dismantle the paramilitary criminal structures responsible for a high level of aggressions, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, expressly demand that the military and security agencies cease the stigmatization of human rights defenders and provide the necessary guarantees so that the people and organizations that carry out this work can do so without any type of interference or intimidation.

To the State authorities: Take the necessary measures to stop the aggressions against human rights defenders and social organizations and provide effective guarantees to carry out their work throughout the national territory.

To the Attorney General’s Office and judicial and control bodies: Investigate and bring before the criminal justice system and impose disciplinary sanctions on those responsible for these aggressions.

Finally, and within the framework of the current electoral process, the candidates elected for the second round must commit, if elected, to design and implement, together with social organizations and human rights platforms, a public policy of respect and guarantees for the exercise of the defense of human rights in harmony with the National Human Rights Action Plan and the Final Peace Agreement signed in 2016.

 

More information: Communications 315 926 5808

[1] Comprised between the municipalities of Guadalupe, Campamento and Angostura.

[2] Among them, the Joel Sierra Human Rights Foundation, the José Antonio Galán Zorro National Campesino Association ASONALCA, the Amanecer de Mujeres por Arauca Association AMAR, the Regional Youth and Student Association ASOJER, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores CUT and the Trochando Sin Fronteras Communications Corporation, members of the CCEEU.

 

030622-Comunicado-Agresiones-a-Integrantes-de-la-CCEEU

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