Lilia Solano, human rights activist

Re: Lilia Solano, human rights activist

To: Senor President Alvaro Uribe Velez

From: Heather D. Neun, LL.B, M. Phil., B.A.

Date: 2004-08-30

I am writing in response to recent reports of death threats directed at Lilia Solano and others involved with the organization Proyecto Justicia y Vida. LWRC is gravely concerned about the safety of Ms. Solano and the members of Projecto Justicia y Vida. LWRC has received reports that Ms. Solano recently received telephone death threats and that the office of Proyecto Justicia y Vida has been the subject of continuous surveillance by unknown men. LWRC has also received reports that other members of the Proyecto have been similarly threatened.

LRWC calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the threats, intimidation and illegal surveillance of these human rights defenders, for the results obtained to be made public and for those responsible to be brought to justice. LRWC also calls upon the government of Columbia to take swift and effective action to ensure the security of Lilia Solano and all Proyecto members so they can continue to carry out their legitimate and important work defending human rights.

Failure to protect and investigate violations of the rights of Ms. Solano, other members of the Proyecto, and other human rights defenders constitutes an egregious breach of Colombia’s duties under binding international laws and principles including those set out in the United Nations (U.N.) Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the DHRD) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to which Colombia is a signatory, as well as other U.N. declarations, including the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The duties to guarantee the physical safety of these individuals and to investigate 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.

We remind the Government of Colombia that it has an obligation to promote and protect human rights by projecting human rights defenders. The international community has recognized the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders and their right to carry out their work without fear of intimidation, harassment, assaults or reprisals. We call on the Government to comply with its obligations under Articles 2.1 and 9.5 of the DHRD.

Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of the actions that the government of Colombia is taking to:

1. ensure the present and future safety of Lilia Solano and other members of the Proyecto Justicia y Vida, and;

2. investigate the death threats and intimidation against these human rights defenders with the goal of identifying the person(s) responsible and bringing them to trial.