Re: David Ravelo Crespo, Secretary Geneal of CREDHOS; Georgina Morales, member of CREDHOS
To: Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio, Attorney General of Colombia
From: Heather D. Neun, LL.B, M. Phil., B.A.
I am writing in response to reports of recent death threats to David Ravelo Crespo, Secretary General of the Corporaci¨®n Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (¡°CREDHOS¡±) and Georgina Morales, member of CREDHOS. CREDHOS is a non-governmental human rights organization that carries out legitimate and important work in documenting and exposing human rights violations in Colombia.
We are advised that in recent months, Mr. Ravelo Crespo has received numerous threatening telephone calls at the CREDHOS office in Barrancabermeja. The most recent threat was received at the office on May 31, 2005, when an unidentified male caller called the office and said that Mr. Crespo would be killed. We are also advised that he has been continuously followed by suspected members of army-backed paramilitary groups operating in Barrancabermeja.
A failed attempt on the life of Georgina Morales was made in February 2005. Most recently, on May 24, 2005, two armed men on a motorbike approached Georgina Morales¡¯ classmate and instructed her to tell Georgina to leave Barrancabermeja within three days. Georgina Morales has been forced to flee Barrancabermeja and is currently in hiding.
LRWC is extremely concerned about these incidents, particularly given the recent death of fellow CREDHOS member, Stivenson Torres, who was reportedly killed on 24 April 2005 by paramilitaries in Barrancabermeja.
We remind the Colombian Government of its obligations to protect these two individuals and other members of CREDHOS pursuant to Article 12 of the Human Rights Defender Declaration adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1998. Article 12 establishes the government¡¯s duty to ¡°take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by competent authorities of everyone ¡ against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or other arbitrary action¡¡±.
In light of these obligations, LWRC urges the Colombia Government to take immediate and effective action to ensure that David Ravelo Crespo, Georgina Morales and CREDHOS are able to carry out their legitimate and important work for the defence of human rights, in safety.
LRWC also calls for an immediate investigation of these matters in order to determine who is responsible for these threats. LWRC calls on the Colombian Government to guarantee the safety and security of each of these individuals as well as that of their families and CREDHOS colleagues.
Finally, LWRC wishes to register is concern that the Government of Colombia has not taken effective measures to dismantle the paramilitary groups that operate and commit human rights violations in the Barrancabermeja area, despite United Nations recommendations.
Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of the actions that the Government of Colombia is taking to:
1. guarantee the safety of David Ravelo Crespo and Georgina Morales;
2. undertake a full and impartial investigation of the threat, for the results to be made public and those responsible brought to justice;
3. take immediate and effective action, to ensure that members of CREDHOS can carry out their legitimate and important work for the defence of human rights in safety.
LRWC awaits your response. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.