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Colombia: Fear for safety/Possible "disappearance"

, Index number: AMR 23/007/2000

Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of 14-year-old Luis Enrique Ríos, who was abducted at gunpoint on 3 February in a town in central Colombia. He has not been seen since.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/07/00
UA 39/00 Fear for safety/Possible “disappearance” 16 February 2000
COLOMBIA“Disappeared”: Luis Enrique RUIZ RÍOS, aged 14
Fear for safety: his mother, Gloria RÍOS, community activist
Other members of the Ríos family
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the safety of 14-year-old
Luis Enrique Ríos, who was abducted at gunpoint on 3 February in a town in
central Colombia. He has not been seen since.
Luis Enrique Ruiz Ríos was out with his brother Edwin Ruiz Ríos in the Virrey
district of Usme, at about 2pm when an unidentified gunman forced him into
a car. Edwin Ruiz managed to escape, the gunman reportedly telling him to tell
his mother that she “would not see her son again” (“que no volvería a ver a
su hijo”).
Luis Enrique’s family had been forced to move to Usme, in Cundinamarca
department, to escape political violence. His mother Gloria Ríos works for
a non-governmental organization working with displaced people in the Usme area,
the Organización de Familias Desplazadas (ORFADES), Organization of Displaced
Families. Luis Enrique is the vice-president of the ORFADES children’s
committee. The family has reportedly received numerous written death threats
and anonymous threatening phone calls in recent weeks. According to Gloria
Ríos the two men who abducted Luis Enrique had been seen in the Virrey district
in the previous few days asking where they could find her.
There is particular concern for the safety of Luis Enrique and his mother because
both sides in Colombia’s civil conflict, armed opposition groups on the one
side and the armed forces and their paramilitary allies on the other, have
often accused forcibly displaced people of collaborating or sympathizing with
their enemies, and followed these accusations up with death threats and
Luis Enrique’s “disappearancehas been denounced to the Colombian authorities.
Both sides in Colombia’s civil conflict have targeted human rights defenders,
leaders of internally displaced communities, trades unionists, regional human
rights ombudsmen and similarly active civilians for threats, killings and
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Luis Enrique Ruiz Ríos, who was abducted
on 3 February 2000 in Usme, department of Cundinamarca, and whose whereabouts
are now unknown;
- urging the authorities to do everything possible to establish his whereabouts
and guarantee his safety;
- urging the authorities to undertake full and impartial investigations into
his “disappearance” and the death threats against his family, to make the results
public and bring those responsible to justice;
- urging the authorities to protect Luis Enrique’s family, doing everything
the family themselves think necessary.
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
Telex: 44281 PALP CO
Fax: + 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: Ministerio Interior, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:45406 MINGO CO
Fax:+ 57 1 286 8025 / 281 5884 / 342 3201
Salutation:Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
People’s Ombudsman:
Dr.José Fernando Castro Caycedo
Defensor del Pueblo
Defensoría del Pueblo
Calle 55 No.10-32
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Defensoria Pueblo, Bogota, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 346 1225/285 6908/314 7300(ext 2246)/6915455
Salutation: Estimado Dr./Dear Dr. Castro
Association for Relatives of the "Disappeared"
AA 011446
Santafé de Bogotá
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 29 March 2000.

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