Re: Arnold Gomez Carmelo Agamez, Juan David Diaz, Adolfo Berbel, Jackeline Moguea Roberto Serpa, Amauri Vidual
To: President Uribe
From: Heather D. Neun
I am writing to condemn the series of recent threats against human rights defenders and organizations in Colombia. The aforenamed are all members of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado) in Sucre Department, northern Colombia. We understand that the names of each of these individuals appear on a ‘death list’. We further understand that the lives of other members of the Victims’ Movement in Sucre department may also be at risk.
There are reports that the death list appeared after the Victims’ Movement held a demonstration in opposition to the re-arming of paramilitaries in Sucre, on 26 August 2006. This action was followed by the organization’s decision to present a report to the Senate, in October 2006. The report contained the names of local and national politicians with clear links to restructured paramilitary groups. The report condemned the emergence of restructured paramilitary groups in Sucre operating under the names of Black Eagles (Águilas Negras) and The New Generation (La Nueva Generacion).
LRWC is extremely concerned about the security of these individuals and reminds the Colombian Government of its obligations to protect these organizations and their members 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 the Victim’s Movement is able to carry out its 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 the members of these organizations as well as that of their families.
We request that you advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of the actions that the Government of Colombia is taking to:
1. undertake a full and impartial investigation of the threats, for the results to be made public, and those responsible brought to justice;
2. take immediate and effective action, to ensure that those named above and other members of the Victim’s Movement can carry out its legitimate and important work for the defence of human rights in safety;
3. undertake a full and impartial investigation into the links between the armed forces and paramilitary groups, for the results to be made public, and for those responsible for participating in such groups to be brought to justice;
4. Undertake a full and impartial investigation into links between the security forces, local politicians and paramilitary groups, and asking that the results of the investigation are made public and those found responsible for supporting and participating in such groups be brought to justice;
5. take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments and recommendations made by the UN and other intergovernmental organizations.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns. LRWC awaits your response.