We are going through a period of importance for the future of Colombia, what with the initiation of peace talks between the insurgency and the national government. But this initiative and this political will, supported by the majority of our fellow citizens, are being challenged with threats, attacks, and intimidation. The Águilas Negras paramilitaries have launched a nationwide offensive against community processes, leaders, and organizations who are fighting for human rights, democracy, peace, and the dignity of victims in Colombia.
THE CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES rejects and denounces to the Colombian authorities, the Colombian people, and the international community the utterance of death threats by paramilitary groups against leaders, human rights advocates, and community and human rights organizations in Bogotá, Barrancabermeja, Arauca, and the Caribbean Coast.
In the last three months, threatening pamphlets signed by the Águilas Negras paramilitary group have appeared:
• October 24, 2014: The Bogotá bloc of the Águilas Negras paramilitary group, reaffirming its presence in the city's localities, stated that community leaders, public officials, and human rights organizations in the capital would now be considered military targets.
• October 31, 2014: A communiqué from the High Command of the Capital Bloc of the paramilitary group Águilas Negras threatened leaders in the locality of Bosa, mainly leaders of the District's community housing organization, who are working with displaced persons. The communiqué called them parasites and land grabbers; it stated that it knew where they and their families lived and that it would proceed to "uproot them or kill them without pity."
• November 10, 2014: Another communiqué from the High Command of the Capital Bloc of the paramilitary group Águilas Negras announced that “we are fulfilling our civic duty to clean out those who would take away the land of the people living in the northern part of the city. We will not allow it, AND WE ARE GOING TO GET RID OF THEM.” The communiqué went on to declare the "DEATH PENALTY" for various leaders of displaced persons living in the city.
• December 10, 2014: International Human Rights Day. The High Command of the Águilas Negra paramilitary group sent a message to the Centro de Memoria in Bogotá announcing its plan to remove displaced people at the barrel of a gun.
• January 11, 2015. A new pamphlet from the Capital Bloc of the Aguilas Negras paramilitary group appeared, detailing a plan to “neutralize” political, community, and human rights leaders.
The threats have repeatedly mentioned MARTHA REINA and MAYERLY GARZÓN, both members of the CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES and various Bogotá community organizations, who have furthermore been the victims of tailing and harassment.
Sunday, January 11, 2015: In the city of Barranquilla, threatening pamphlets were left at the doors of TOMÁS RAMOS and EMMA DORIS LOPEZ. They declared human rights leaders, trade unionists, political leaders, and others to be military targets. Targeted individuals include members of THE CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES, THE PATRIOTIC UNION, AND THE PATRIOTIC MARCH. We must also mention threats to MARY LHOESTE, Congress of the Peoples spokesperson for the Caribbean Coast, as well as various participants in our national process.
We further note with concern alleged threats against JHON ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ, leader of the UNIÓN SINDICAL OBRERA trade union; similar threats have been made against him through cell phone number 3173845866, and he and his family have been declared military targets. It is important to remember that in August 2014, a vehicle in which he was traveling was hit by a hail of 50 bullets. In the face of that incident, Ecopetrol and the Unidad Nacional de Protección agreed to step up security measures for Mr. Rodriguez and his family, but so far nothing has been done.
January 6, 2015: In the town of Tame, Oscar García, a Unión Sindical Obrera leader, was tailed, harassed, and subsequently fired on three times while traveling in a security vehicle. This is the second attempt on his life in less than six months.
It must be reiterated that among the many people threatened are leaders of the CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES who belong to various community and human rights organizations recognized for their important work in defense of life, vulnerable populations, human rights advocates, and peace workers. These facts have been reported and are known to the Unidad Nacional de Protección, an agency of the Office of the Vice President, but in the majority of cases there has been no effective response aiming to protect the lives of the persons threatened.
In view of these facts,
WE DEMAND THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA:
• Take all further measures necessary to guarantee the rights to life, liberty, personal safety, and physical and mental integrity, the right to organize, and the honor and reputation of the leaders and processes mentioned in the threats.
• Take all necessary legal steps to identify the perpetrators of these acts.
• We urge the Ministry of the Interior and the Human Rights Office of the Office of the Vice President to take a public stand on these facts and to publicly announce the measures that will be taken to address these threats.
WE DEMAND THAT THE DEFENSORÍA DEL PUEBLO:
• Fulfill its institutional role of guaranteeing everyone’s constitutional right to life, personal safety, physical and psychological integrity, as well as the honor and reputation of the leaders and organizations threatened.
• Human rights and peoples’ organizations to stay alert with regard to any potential attack on the human rights of the leaders and organizations of Bogotá.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
WE GAVE COPIES TO:
*JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN*
Presidente de la República
Carrera 8 No. 7 -26 Palacio de Nariño Bogotá
Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71
*GERMAN VARGAS LLERAS*
Vicepresidente de la República
Carrera 8 No.7-57 Bogotá D.C.
*LUIS EDUARDO MONTEALEGRE*
Fiscal General de la Nación
Diagonal 22B No. 52-01 - Bogotá, D.C.
Teléfonos: 570 20 00 - 414 90 00
*JORGE ARMANDO OTALORA*
Defensor del Pueblo
Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá
Fax: (+571) 640.04.91
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
*ALEJANDRO ORDOÑEZ MALDONADO*
Procurador General de la Nación
Cra. 5 No.15 – 80F Bogotá D.C.
email@example.com, reygon@procuraduría.gov.co, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
*Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos y de Derecho Internacional Humanitario.
Calle 7 N° 5-54 Santafé de Bogotá
TEL: (+571) 336.03.11
FAX: (+57 1) 337.46.67
*Fiscalía General de la Nación
Dr. Eduardo Montealegre
Diagonal 22 B No.52-01
Santa fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+571) 570 20 00
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR
Dr. JUAN FERNANDO CRISTO
OFICINA DEL ALTO COMISIONADO DE NACIONES UNIDAS PARA LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS
Sr. Tom Howland
Sr. Luis Novoa
Tel: (1) 6583300 ext 1175
OFICINA DDHH DE LA POLICIA NACIONAL – CORONEL ARANGO