Adalberto Rojas – Human rights defender

Adalberto Rojas, male, lawyer and President of Bolivian non-governmental organization, the Asamblea Permanente en Santa Cruz de la Sierra (APDH), Permanent Human Rights Assembly in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Santa Cruz Department, has been threatened and intimidated. His life, and those of others working for APDH, may be in danger.

Adalberto Rojas and members of the APDH have been receiving threats and harassment since 2003 because of their legitimate work in defense of human rights of peasants, indigenous peoples and other members of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra community who face discrimination. In recent months, these threats have worsened as different groups in Santa Cruz Department struggle for power in the context of calls for regional autonomy. Adalberto Rojas and other members of the APDH have been accused of being traitors to the development of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

On January 21st, 2007, several members of the Comité Cívico Pro Santa Cruz, Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee, an elected committee in favour of regional autonomy, entered the ADPH office, threatening staff and claiming that they would come back with weapons and shoot at the building.

According to reports, on December 7th, 2006 a group of approximately eight people who identified themselves as members of the Union Juvenil Cruceñista, the Youth Union of Santa Cruz, racially insulted Adalberto Rojas and four members of the APDH in a street close to their office in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The Youth Union is a group linked to the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee. One member of the group approached Adalberto Rojas, pushed him and shouted “we know what time you start and finish [work], we are going to kill you, you will not make it through the night, son of a bitch” (sabemos a que horas entras y sales, te vamos a matar, de esta noche no pasas, hijo de puta), before kicking him. Adalberto Rojas reported the incident to the police and asked for police protection to be placed at the entrance of the APDH office. The police provided this protection, and several members of the APDH had been living in the office as they were in fear for their safety in their own homes, but the authorities stopped the police presence on January 7th, 2007 citing financial reasons. Adalberto Rojas has been forced to leave his home, fearing for his own safety and that of his family.


Letter by Diana Davidson sent on March 13, 2007