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Urgent Action:
International Commission of the People's Congress

March 22nd, 2017

Detention of members of the People’s Congress in South Bolivar

The human rights defenders and social leaders Milena Quiroz, Isidro Alarcon, Floro Edilberto Diaz Gamboa and Manuel Francisco Zabaleta have been detained.

Around 5:00am, on March 22nd, in the municipality of Arenal in the department of Bolivar, the National Police entered without permission into the home of the social leader and human rights defender Milena Quiroz. Milena Quiroz is the spokesperson of the Commission for Dialogue of South Bolivar and Central and South Cesar. She is also a member of the People’s Congress, legal representative of the Afro-descendant Community Council  Casimira Olave Arincon Amela, and president of the Cooperative Multiactiva -Comuarena-. After the police entered her house without permission, the human rights defender was then transferred and supposedly charged by the Public Prosecutor of Cartagena, with charges of “conspiracy for crime”.

In addition to the detention of Milena Quiroz, since March 21st, various events occurred and were denounced:
In the afternoon on March 21st, Floro Edilberto Diaz Gamboa was detained in Aguachica. He is the driver that provides the transportation to Mina Proyecto. He was detained at the Public Ministry to be transferred to Cartagena on the night of March 21st to 22nd.

On March 21st, Isidro Alarcon, leader of Micoahumado was detained. On the night of March 21st, the police entered his home supposedly looking for firearms. During the search in the house, they took pictures.
On March 21st, Joaquin Gomez’s daughter was detained on the Las Doradas pathway. The police entered the house by infringement and since Joaquin Gomez was not present, they took his daughter. Joaquin Gomez had received threats by the military through pamphlets.

On March 21st, police officers entered by infringement into a house in Micoahumado. They didn’t let the landlord open the doors and broke them open instead.

On March 21st, two young individuals, Kelly Johanna Zabaleta Guerrero and Kamer David Salazar Cruzado, were detained.
On March 22nd, in Casa de Barro, in the township of Norosi, the leader Manuel Francisco Zabaleta, leader of Fedeagromisbol and president of the Association of Miners of Casa de Barro, was detained.
On March 22nd, around 10:00 am, in Barracabermeja, agents of the government tried to capture Arisolina Rodriguez, a leader of the Commission for Dialogue of South Bolivar and Central and South Cesar. She, and othe regional leaders, were assisting at a workshop about participation of the “Law of Guarantees”.

Since January 1st 2017, more than 30 social leaders have been assassinated and persecution towards social leaders and human rights defenders has increased alarmingly.

We demand from the responsible authorities:
- The immediate liberation of Milena Quiroz, Isidro Alarcon, Floro Edilberto Diaz Gamboa, Kelly Johana Zabaleta Guerrero, Kamer David Salazar Cruzado and Manuel Francisco Zabaleta.
- A guarantee that the social leaders in Colombia whose activities are legitimate, be able to freely operate without fear of restrictions or retaliation.
- A guarantee to the right to life and necessary guarantees for the exercise of the defense of human rights and the exercise of social protest, that the rights of threatened individuals be respected as mentioned in the Political Constitution of Colombia.
- That all possible action be taken to protect the liberty and fundamental rights of human rights defenders.

We ask  the national and international community:
That they stand in solidarity with the individuals illegally detained between the 21st and 22nd of March;
That they demand to the responsible authorities to answer their duty.

Señor Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República
018000 o 913666

Defensoría del pueblo
314 4000

Ministerio de Defensa    
Señor Luis Carlos Villegas   
315 0111
Email :

Director de la Unidad Nacional de Protección
Diego Fernando Mora Arango
018 000 o 118 228
Personeria Santa Rosa del Sur:
Correo Electrónico:
Controlaria Departamenta de Bolivar
Teléfono: 57-5-6641554

Defensoria del pueblo
Regional Bolivar
Roberto Horacio Velez Cabrales
Celular 310 853 93 92,