Re: Danilo Rueda, human rights activist
To: Senor Presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez, Presidente de la Republica
From: Heather D. Neun, LL.B, M. Phil., B.A.
I am writing in response to reports of a recent death threat issued to Danilo Rueda, member of Comisión Intereclesial Justicia y Paz (the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission). LRWC has received reports the said letter threatened Mr. Rueda and other members of Justicia y Paz.
LRWC is very concerned about these reports given that a similar death threat was issued against Mr. Rueda two years ago.
LRWC has information that the threat was delivered to the organization’s offices in Bogotá on the morning of 29 March. We understand that the text of the letter was as follows:
Danilo Rueda Q.E.P.D: No vamos a permitir que el yugo opresor de la guerrilla terrorista vuelva a la región…Todos los de justicia y pas (sic) quedan también advertidos. Viva la libertad no a las viejas opresiones terroristas en estafetas de derechos humanos. (“Danilo Rueda R.I.P: We will not allow the oppressive yoke of the terrorist guerrilla to return to the region… All members of Justice and Peace are warned. Long live freedom, no to the old terrorist oppression in the name of human rights.”)
LRWC calls for an immediate investigation of this matter in order to determine who is responsible. LWRC also calls on the Colombian Government to guarantee the safety and security of Mr. Rueda and all members of Justicia y Paz.
LRWC reminds the government of its obligations to protect human rights defenders under the Human Rights Defender Declaration adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1998. Article 12 of the Declaration establishes a duty on the government of Colombia 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 those obligations, LWRC urges the Colombia Government to take immediate and effective action deemed appropriate by those under threat, to ensure that members of Justicia y Paz can carry out their legitimate and important work for the defence of human rights in safety.
The Government of Colombia is also a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Colombia’s obligations to guarantee the physical safety of its citizens, investigate extra legal executions, and punish violations, also arise from Colombia’s membership in the Organization of American States (OAS) and the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights.
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 Danilo Rueda and other members of Justicia y Paz, in line with the Inter-American Commission of Human precautionary measures issued in September 2003;
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 deemed appropriate by those under threat, to ensure that members of Justicia y Paz can carry out their legitimate and important work for the defence of human rights in safety
4. take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments and UN recommendations.
LRWC will be raising this matter with the Canadian Government, further to recent brief to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in which the Canadian Government observes that the paramilitary have “infiltrated Colombian society and government and contaminated the rule of law.”
LRWC awaits your response. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.