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Colombia: Fear for safety / Death threats

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 23/093/1999

Amnesty International is seriously concerned for people living in the Cimitarra River Valley area, particularly the peasant farmer leaders Miguel CIFUENTES, Gilberto GUERRA, Andrés GIL and Libardo TRASLAVIÑA, after reports that paramilitary groups have threatened to go there and kill peasant farmers, whom they have accused of belonging to guerrilla forces.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/93/99
UA 326/99 Fear for safety / Death threats 29 December 1999
COLOMBIAMiguel CIFUENTES] Peasant
Gilberto GUERRA] farmer
Andrés GIL] leaders
Libardo TRASLAVIÑA]
And communities of the municipality of Cantagallo
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for people living in the Cimitarra
River Valley area, particularly the peasant farmer leaders named above, after
reports that paramilitary groups have threatened to go there and kill peasant
farmers, whom they have accused of belonging to guerilla forces.
The paramilitary threats coincide with a reported bombardment, on 15 December,
of several communities in the Cimitarra River Valley - Yanacué, Coroncoro,
Cuatrobocas, and San Lorenzo - (also in the municipality of Cantagallo,
department of Bolívar), by Colombian armed forces.
The organization’s concerns are heightened by the abduction of peasant farmer
leaders Edgar Quiroga and Gildardo Fuentes by paramilitary forces on 28 November
1999 in a nearby municipality (see EXTRA 169/99, AMR 23/88/99, 29 November
1999).
According to information received, peasant farmer leaders belonging to the
Asociación Campesina del Valle del Cimitarra (ACVC), Peasant Farmer Association
of the Cimitarra Valley, have recently been labelled “secuestradores”,
“kidnappers”, by the Colombian Army. Those labelled as subversive or accused
of carrying out subversive activities by the security forces or their
paramilitary allies often then become victim to serious human rights violations
by paramilitary forces.
In 1998, Miguel Cifuentes, Gilberto Guerra, Libardo Traslaviña, Andrés Gil
and Edgar Quiroga were part of a delegation of regional peasant farmer leaders
who took part in negotiations with the government on behalf of displaced peasant
farming communities from the department of Bolívar and neighbouring areas.
The negotiations led to a signed agreement by the government that it would
guarantee their safety and take action to combat paramilitary groups responsible
for their displacement.
Several of the community representatives, however, have reportedly since been
killed or threatened by paramilitary forces who continue to operate in the
region, despite the heavy presence of the armed forces in the region.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Members of the Colombian army and security forces and their paramilitary allies
commit serious human rights violations with virtual impunity. Over the past
five years several thousand civilians have been killed by paramilitary groups.
The Colombian government suspended the constitutional legal base for the
formation of paramilitary organizations and issued directives to the armed
forces to combat and disband such groups in 1989, yet they continue to work
with the support of the security forces in many areas of the country.
Guerrilla forces have also committed serious violations of international
humanitarian law including executing those they accuse of being security force
or paramilitary force collaborators.
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RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of peasant farmer leaders Miguel Cifuentes,
Gilberto Guerra, Libardo Traslaviña and Andrés Gil and the civilian population
of the Cimitarra River Valley area, municipality of Cantagallo, department
of Bolívar, after reports that paramilitary forces have threatened to kill
peasant farmers in the area, whom they have labelled as “guerrillas”;
- expressing concern for the safety of other leaders of peasant farming
communities in the department of Bolívar;
- asking that all measures deemed appropriate by those under threat are taken
to guarantee their safety;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security
forces and paramilitary groups in the department of Bolívar, for the results
to be made public and for those responsible for supporting and participating
in such groups to be brought to justice;
- asking the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary
groups, in line with stated government commitments and UN recommendations.
APPEALS TO:
President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana, Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No. 7-26, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:President Pastrana, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:44281 PALP CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 286 7434 / 284 2186 / 337 1351
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente / Dear President Pastrana
Minister of the Interior
Dr. Néstor Humberto Martínez, Ministro del Interior
Ministerio del Interior, Carrera 8, No.8-09, Piso 2
Santafé de Bogotá, COLOMBIA
Telegrams: Ministro Interior, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:45406 MINGO CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 286 8025 / 281 5584 / 342 3201 / 341 9739
Salutation:Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
Minister of Defence
Dr. Luis Fernando Ramírez Acuña
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado CAN - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro Defensa, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
Commander of the V Brigade
General Martín Orlando Carreño Sandoval
Comandante de la V Brigada
Carrera 33-14, Barrio Los Pinos
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 7 645 5051 / 635 1493
Salutation: Sr. General / Dear General
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COPIES TO:
CREDHOS
AA 505, Barrancabermeja, Santander, Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of COLOMBIA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 February 2000.

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