EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 23/05/98
UA 23/98 Fear for safety / Possible extrajudicial
executions 23 January 1998
COLOMBIACarlos Vera Correa
Marleny Taborba (f)
Arcadyo Ferney Bolivar
All other Inhabitants of municipal capital of Carmen de
Atrato, department of Chocó
Killed: Ruben Dario Maya, 35, miner
Jhon Fredy Alvarez Valderrama, 17
Jaime Ramírez Palacio, 27
According to reports received by Amnesty International, four men from the town
of Carmen de Atrato, department of Chocó, were killed by paramilitary gunmen
during December 1997 and the first days of January 1998. Inhabitants of the
town have been warned by paramilitary groups active in the area that up to
70 new graves need to be prepared in the local cemetery as there is going to
be a “cleansing” operation in the area. There have also been reports that many
young people have been warned by paramilitary gunmen that they will be killed
if they do not leave the town.
Paramilitary gunmen were reportedly responsible for killing Ruben Dario Maya
on 5 December 1997 and Jhon Fredy Alvarez Valderrama on 30 December. The
following day they reportedly attacked and injured Jaime Ramírez Palacio, whom
they later killed while he was being treated in hospital. They are also believed
to be responsible for killing Gildardo Taborda on 3 January 1998, who was shot
dead in front of his family at his home.
Carlos Vera Correa, Marleny Taborba and Arcadyo Ferney Bolivar, who are believed
to have witnessed the killings, have reportedly received death threats from
the paramilitary groups responsible.
In July 1997, Jaime Ramírez Palacio’s name appeared on a list of people condemned
to death by the paramilitary group, Autodefensas Campesinas de Córdoba y Urabá
(ACCU), Peasant Self-Defence Force of Córdoba and Urabá.
Amnesty International has issued a number of Urgent Actions on behalf of
communities in the municipality of Carmen de Atrato [see UA 146/96, AMR 23/34/96,
17 June 1996 and follow up AMR 23/09/97, 18 February 1997 as well as UA 322/97,
AMR 23/72/97, 14 October 1997]. The civilian population in the area has been
systematically targeted for extrajudicial executions by paramilitary groups
working in alliance with the armed forces.
Despite international appeals calling on the Colombian authorities to dismantle
paramilitary organizations operating in the department of Chocó, and bring
those members responsible for human rights violations to justice, no effective
action has been taken to stem paramilitary violence in the region. Failure
to take decisive action against paramilitary groups will lead to further human
rights violations in the region.