PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/036/2002
5 April 2002
Further information on UA 240/01 (AMR 23/093/01, 20 September ) and follow-up
(MAR 23/123/01, 10 December 2001, AMR 23/093/01, 20 September 2001 and AMR
23/097/2001, 24 September 2001) - Fear for safety
COLOMBIAMembers of the National non-governmental human rights organization
Sembrar, including Ludivia Giraldo(f) and Diana Herrera(f)
New name: Alexander Herrera(m)
Amnesty International is extremely concerned for the safety of those named
above, as in recent weeks the threats and harassment against them have increased
in intensity and frequency.
On 27 March, while walking toward the western part of Bogotá, Alexander Herrera
noticed that he was being followed by an unidentified man who was also taking
his picture. Alexander alerted police officers nearby, who immediately arrested
the man and removed the film from his camera for further investigation.
At 6:30 pm on 26 March, as members of Sembrar left their office they noticed
a blue car parked in front of the building. A man and a woman inside the car
switched on the lights and engine of the car as soon as they saw them on the
street. Alerted by their presence, the members of Sembrar decided to return
to their office and contacted a trade unionist friend who has bodyguards
allocated to him as part of the protection program of the Ministry of Interior.
The trade unionist and his bodyguards answered their appeal and went to the
Sembrar’s office. The car drove quickly away as soon as they arrived.
On the same day Diana Herrera, member of Sembrar, was followed by three
unidentified men on the streets of the centre of Bogotá. As Diana attempted
to elude her followers, the men following her fell back. A few minutes later
a fourth man began to follow her.
Blanca Lucía Valencia, legal representative of Sembrar, was forced to leave
the country to protect her life after being intensively harassed and threatened
during the last six months of last year. On 26 February Ludivia Giraldo, who
has replaced Blanca Lucía, was also followed by two unidentified men in a van
after leaving Sembrar’s offices.
As part of this apparent campaign of harassment and threats all members of
Sembrar are receiving threatening phone calls on their mobiles.
Immediately after the death of Yolanda Cerón (see UA 240/01, AMR 23/093/01,
20 September 2001) Sembrar workers received a telephoned death threat apparently
making reference her murder. Since then the threats against them have increased.
Human rights defenders are frequently labelled guerrilla collaborators by
security forces and their paramilitary allies. Such accusations are frequently
followed by serious human rights violations such as abductions, murders or
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as
possible, in Spanish or in your own language: