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Colombia: Fear for Safety

, Index number: AMR 23/059/2001

Human rights defender Astrid Manrique Carvajal, her family and members of the organization she works for, Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (ASFADDES), are being threatened and harassed. Amnesty International is concerned for their safety.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/059/2001
UA 140/01 Fear for Safety 5 June 2001
COLOMBIAAstrid MANRIQUE CARVAJAL (f), human rights defender
Her family
Other members of the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
(ASFADDES) in Popayán
Human rights defender Astrid Manrique Carvajal, her family and members of the
organization she works for are being threatened and harassed. Amnesty
International is concerned for their safety.
On 3 June two men reportedly smashed all the windows at Astrid Manrique
Carvajal’s house. She and her family have been threatened repeatedly in the
last few weeks. On 25 May she and her 14-year-old daughter, Tatiana, were
followed by approximately six unidentified men on their way to a nearby dentist.
At the end of April, unknown men came to the home of Astrid Manrique’s sister,
Sandra, and asked for her sister "the pretty girl who works with kidnap victims
or the "disappeared" or something to do with human rights" ("la muchacha monita
que trabaja con Secuestrados o Desaparecidos o algo que tiene que ver con
Derechos Humanos"). Sandra told them that she was an only child and moved house.
Despite this, on 1 May Sandra saw various unidentified men keeping her new
home under surveillance. Astrid was previously threatened in May 2000, when
a man with a police identity card said he would kill her and her daughter (see
UA 117/00, AMR 23/032/00, 12 May 2000).
The ongoing threats appear to be directly connected with Astrid Manrique’s
work for the Popayán branch of the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos
Desaparecidos (ASFADDES), Association of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared,
a non-governmental organization working to bring to justice those responsible
for “disappearances” during the ongoing conflict in Colombia. ASFADDES has
received numerous threats and is supposed to receive emergency protection
from the police. However, ASFADDES received no immediate help on 1 June when
they called the police to report that an unknown man was acting suspiciously
at an ASFADDES event organized to mark raise awareness of the “disappeared”.
The police officer responsible for the security of ASFADDES had apparently
turned off the emergency phone and was therefore unable to send a police car
to the scene until the unknown man had gone.
ASFADDES is a non-governmental organization made up of relatives of people
who have “disappeared” during the ongoing conflict in Colombia. It aims to
discover what has happened to the “disappeared” and bring those responsible
to justice. ASFADDES members, together with other human rights defenders and
witnesses of human rights violations, have endured death threats, killings
and disappearances at the hands of the security forces and their paramilitary
allies. In October 2000, Angel Quintero and Claudia Monsalve of the Medellin
branch of ASFADDES "disappeared" (see UA 259/00, AMR 23/081/00, 9 October 2000).
Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Astrid Manrique has been an active member of the ASFADDES branch in Popayán,
Cauca department, since the "disappearance" of her partner. She is now on the
organization’s executive council (Consejo Directivo).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern that Astrid Manrique Carvajal, her family and ASFADDES
members in Popayán are being harassed;
- urging the authorities to take appropriate measures to guarantee their safety,
so they can continue their work of promoting and protecting human rights in
accordance with international human rights standards;;
- calling for a full investigation into the threats, with the results made
public and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging the Colombian government to adhere to its obligations regarding human
rights defenders, as laid out in the UA 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
Organization of American States Human Rights Defenders in the Americas
resolution [AG/RES. 1671 (XXIX-O/99)], and in line with repeated
recommendations made by the UN to the Colombian government to take measures
to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders.
President of the Republic
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana Arango
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Carrera 8 No.7-26
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:President Pastrana, Bogota, Colombia
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7434/287 7939/284 2186/289 3377
Salutation:Dear President / Excmo. Sr Presidente
Minister of Interior
Sr. Armando Estrada Villa
Ministro del Interior, Ministerio del Interior, Palacio Echeverry
Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o., Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro Interior, Bogota, Colombia
Fax: + 57 1 341 9583 / 334 3960
Salutation:Dear Sir / Sr. Ministro
Governor of Cauca department
Gobernador del Departamento de Cauca
Sr. Floro Alberto Tunubalá Paja
Gobernación de Cauca
Carrera 7, Calle 4ª, piso 3
Popayán, Cauca, COLOMBIA
Telefax: + 57 28 243 597 (if a voice answers say "tono de fax, por favor")
Salutation:Dear Governor / Sr. Gobernador
Association for Relatives of the "Disappeared"
ASFADDES - Seccional Popayán
AA 0403
Popayán, Cauca, 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 17 July 2001.

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