CONTINUED PARAMILITARY PRESENCE IN CHOCÓ
Residents of Puerto Lleras, Jiguamiandó collective territory in the department of Chocó, report threats and raids from paramilitaries near the Humanitarian Zone of Pueblo Nuevo, putting all the inhabitants at risk.
On 15 April the human rights NGO Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, CIJP) reported that an unidentified number of paramilitaries from the group Gaitanista Self Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) entered the hamlet of Puerto Lleras, Jiguamiandó collective territory in the department of Chocó, in north-western Colombia. According to the NGO, these individuals rounded up the community and told them that they were going to take control over the zones previously occupied by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), and that they would not allow the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) into the territory.
The CIJP reported that the paramilitaries offered 800,000 Colombian pesos (approximately 280 USD) to anyone who wanted to join them, and ordered the community to farm coca crops on their territory. They also announced that they were waiting for a further 100 men who were coming to join them from Pavarandó, heading for the hamlet of Pueblo Nuevo, which is a Humanitarian Zone. According to the CIJP there has been no concrete action on the part of the military stationed around these zones, on the contrary, the paramilitary groups have been able to move freely in and out of the territory.
Despite the fact that the Humanitarian Zones of the Uradá Jiguamiandó reservation, Pueblo Nuevo and Nueva Esperanza have been granted protectionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of Colombia, they report that raids from paramilitary groups persist and have worsened since the beginning of March. In addition, Jiguamiandó community leaders reported threats against them in March this year, among them Manuel Denis Blandón, Melkin Romaña, Romualdo Salcedo, Félix Álvarado, Erasmo and Benjamín Sierra and the Indigenous leader Argemiro Bailarín.
We call for:
- a comprehensive response from the state to the reports from the communities of the Jiguamiandó collective territory, ensuring that the boundaries of the Humanitarian zones are respected, guaranteeing the safety of their residents and demanding that the presence of the authorities be strengthened;
- and insist that Humanitarian Zones must be respected and ensuring the safety of the leaders, in compliance with the provisions established in relation to victims in the Peace Agreement with the FARC, ensuring that acts of violence are not repeated in their communities and respecting their human rights;
- We urge the authorities to take immediate action to break up paramilitary groups, in accordance with the commitments made by the government and recommendations from international bodies.
Original Urgent Action: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr23/6082/2017/en/