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Threats against international organizations in Colombia

International and national organisations accompanying the communities of Sur de Bolívar have been threatened alongside miners leaders

1. On Saturday 12 May 2007, the Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia (European Network of Brotherhood/Sisterhood and Solidarity with Colombia) received an e-mail threatening the life, physical integrity and accompaniment work of the international organisations that support the communities of Sur de Bolívar. 2. The same threatening message was sent to the leaders of the Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar, principally its president TEOFILO MANUEL ACUÑA, who was days before the victim of a judicial frame up by the Nueva Granada Batallion of the 5th Brigade of the Nacional Army. 3. The message was received at e-mail address, and sent from a Hotmail server under the name “Juan David González Morales”, account The text of the message is:

“it worries me a lot the attitude of the attorney in simiti plutarco all the ngo’s that were pressurising so that the terrorist was set free who has harmed the mining population of sur de bolivar it is known that teofiloy many leaders divert mining resources to maintain and strengthen narcoterrorist organisations such as the ELN but that with the grace of God this will end very soon and these foreigners from the ngo’s will go back to their own lands because they will be some day be discovered by the army of God legally constituted”

4. This threat is not an isolated incident, but part of the declared persecution of the communities of Sur de Bolívar and the national and international organisations that accompany their social processes in defence of territory and life. 5. Since the multinational Anglo Gold Ashanti through its subsidiary Kedahda, has decided to appropriate the territory of the small miners in Sur de Bolívar, human rights violations by the Colombian Armed Forces have increased. The Armed Forces in the region have publicly stated that they are the security service for the said multinational. 6. Innumerable forms of terror have been used to destroy the organisational processes in the region, and to oblige the inhabitants to give up land to Anglo Gold Ashanti, including: the burning of homes, thefts, looting, stigmatisation, threats, occupation of civil goods, arbitrary detentions, judicial set-ups and extra-judicial executions. All these actions are employed to try and displace the mining communities from the region. To these is now added the latest event which is a serious threat to the defence of human rights in Colombia. 7. In accord with the commitment made by the international organisations to the Colombian social organisations to defend the Rights of the Peoples, the international accompaniment in Sur de Bolívar and in the other regions by the Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad will continue. We hold Kedahda corporation (Anglo Gold Ashanti) and the Colombian state responsible for any actions against the life and integrity of the internationals who carry out their work in Sur de Bolívar.

Background to these events

1. On 23 September 2006, in the town of Santa Rosa, whilst the communities carried out a day of protest against the assassination of their leader ALEJANDRO URIBE CHACON, members of the Nueva Granada Battalion of the 5th Brigade of the Nacional Army filmed and photographed members of the Red in a clandestine and covert manner. They also filmed the Legal Representantive of the Colombian NGO Corporación Sembrar, the legal adviser of the Miners Federation of Sur de Bolívar, and some leaders of the region. One of those responsible for the filming was evidently a military agent who was transported in a van registration number XVP 848 used by Carlos Franco, director of the Office of the Presidencial Human Rights Programme. This was the subject of a complaint to the Regional Peoples Defender, and in spite of an immediate request to the Commander of the Nueva Granada to identify the soldier and erase the photographs, he refused to do so. 2. On 14 December 2006 an article appeared in the regional newspaper called “El Frente”, which is headquartered in the city of Bucaramanga. The article is headed: “Perverse campaign against Military Forces in Sur de Bolivar carried out by Non-Governmental Organisations who endorse and defend terrorism in the region”. The article argues that the guerrillas act through the “NGOs in the region”; branding as such Corporación Sembrar, the Miners Federation of Sur de Bolívar and the Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia. In similar fashion the article claims that the efforts of these organisations is directed at “discrediting the Nueva Granada Artillery Battalion and hence the 5th Brigade”. 3. The article contains an interview with José Cendales, a moneyed man from the region who is being suggested as a mayoral candidate for Santa Rosa, who says “the people doing these marches aren’t themselves capable. There is the influence of some group”, referring to the marches of the artisan miners last September 2006. 4. At approximately 14:30 on Saturday 28 April 2007, two internationalists accompanying three regional leaders at San Luquitas, in the San Pedro Frío district Santa Rosa were detained and their details taken. 5. Similarly on Sunday 29 April 2007, three members of the Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia had their details taken by members of the Nueva Granada Battalion, and recorded in a notebook that is kept in the Battalion’s military base in San Luquitas, San Pedro Frío district. 6. Captain Cruz of the Nueva Granada Battalion has in recent weeks been making accusations against the artisan miners federation whose president was detained, such as “we have caught the worst bandit in Sur de Bolívar who robbed $500,000 million pesos from Social Action to hand them over to the guerrilla… we will persecute the rest of the bandits who follow him”. At the same time Captain Cruz has been insistently inquiring in the communities for the presence of members of the Red de Hermandad and other international accompaniment organisations asking about their finances, origins, function and identification.


- To the National Government, we ask: 1. That the National Government takes necessary measures to ensure the work done by international organizations that accompany communities and Columbian social and human rights organizations is respected and garanteed. 2. That the National Government, via the Vice-President of the Republic, regognizes publicly the accompaniment work done by international organizations in Columbia. 3. That the Columbian Government fully respects the agreements signed with the communities and garantees the exercise of South Bolivar Agro-Mining Federation members’ and leaders’ rights, as well as the rights of the organizations that make up this Federation, providing necessary protection for their life and physical integrity. 4. That the work done in South Bolivar by Columbian social and human rights organizations be respected, and consequently that Public Forces stop all false allegations against them. - To the judiciary bodies and those in control , we ask: 5. That an investigation be put in place to trace back the threatening e-mail, and that those found responsible be exemplarily punished. 6. That the Nueva Granada Batalion members be investigated and punished for false accusations and allegations against South Bolivar social organizations and their community leaders, as well as the irregular procedures used against international organizations doing accompaniments in the region. 7. That all human rights violations against South Bolivar communities insistently reported by social organizations and accompanying organizations be investigated and punished.

RED DE HERMANDAD Y SOLIDARIDAD - Organisations internationales : KolumbienKampagne Berlín (Alemania) Comité de solidaridad Carlos Fonseca (Italia) Confederación Cobas (Italia) Cric (Italia) Colombia Solidarity Campaign (Bretaña) Espacio Bristol-Colombia, (Inglaterra) Grupo de Apoyo (Suiza Alemana) Colectivo Solidarité Colombia (Suiza Francesa) Colectivo Ginebrinos de Solidaridad con los Pueblos Colombianos –Ginebra (Suiza) Colectivo de Solidaridad Belgo-Andinoamericano- AYNI (Bélgica) Tribunal Internacional de Opinión SB-París (Francia) Colombia Solidarity Network (Irlanda) Association France Amérique Latine AFAL- Comité Colombia-Lyon (Francia) FRACTAL Colectivo Paris (Francia) Proyecto de Acompañamiento y Solidaridad con Colombia -PASC (Canadá) - En el Estado Español : Komite Internazionalistak (País Vasco) Coliche (Logroño-La Rioja) Coordinadora Aragonesa de Solidaridad con Colombia- CASCOL (Zaragoza) Centro de Documentación y Solidaridad con América Latina y África-CEDSALA (Valencia) SODEPAU (Valencia) Asociación Paz con Dignidad Comité de Solidaridad con América Latina- COSAL - XIXÓN (Gijón-Asturias) Asociación Internacionalista Paz y Solidaridad –AISPAZ (León) Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) Colectivo de Colombianos Refugiados en España COLREFE - Organisations colombiennes : Corporación Sembrar (Bogotá) Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar -Fedeagromisbol (Bolívar) Comité de Integración Social del Catatumbo –CISCA (Catatumbo) Corporación Social para el Asesoramiento y Capacitación Comunitaria - COSPACC (Casanare, Boyacá, Bogotá) Organizaciones Sociales de Arauca (Arauca) Coordinador Nacional Agrario –CNA Procesos de Comunidades Negras –PCN Comité de Integración del Macizo Colombiano –CIMA (Cauca) Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos -FCSPP (Bogotá, Barranquilla, Valle, Bucaramanga, Valledupar) Sindicato Nacional de los trabajadores de la Industria Alimentaria -Sinaltrainal (Bogotá, Valle, Bucaramanga, Valledupar, Barranquilla, Barrancabermeja,) Instituto Nacional Sindical –INS (Bogotá, Valle, Huila) Corporación Jurídica libertad (medellín) Colectivo de derechos Humanos Semillas de Libertad - CODHESEL

Mayo 15 de 2007