EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/67/92
23 November 1992
Further information on UA 456/91, (AMR 23/72/91, 20 December 1991) and follow-ups
AMR 23/02/92 of 30 January 1992, AMR 23/13/92 of 19 March 1992 and AMR 23/31/92 of
5 June 1992 - Threats/harrassment (new concerns)
COLOMBIA: Twenty members of the Paez Indian community of Caloto, Cauca
and Carlos Edgar TORRES APARICIO, lawyer
Rodolfo ALVAREZ, lawyer
Etnio VIDARDO, anthropologist
Oscar Elias LOPEZ, lawyer
Amnesty International has learned with concern of reports of serious threats and
harassment against survivors and relatives of victims of the massacre which took
place on 16 December 1991 of at least 20 Paez Indians . Lawyers working on behalf
of the victims have also reportedly been threatened.
The Indians who were killed were members of a Paez indigenous community which had
been occupying a property called "El Nilo", near the town of Caloto, Cauca department.
About 60 armed and hooded men burst into a building where the Indians were holding
a meeting. Those killed included women and children.
Official investigations initiated by the judicial and Public Ministry authorities
found evidence that members of the Colombian National Police were implicated in the
massacre of the Paez Indians, although the results of these investigations have not
yet been made public.
The Indigenous organization Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca (CRIC), Regional
Indigenous Council of the Cauca, now states that survivors and relatives of the victims
have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by armed civilians operating in the
area. In spite of the fact that the area has been militarized by the army, these
armed groups have reportedly been able to move around without hindrance. The CRIC
also states that lawyers working on the investigation of the massacre have been the
victims of serious harassment, they have been followed and have received threatening
phone calls and anonymous threatening letters. Amnesty International has also been
informed that documentation relating to the investigation of the massacre has
reportedly gone missing from the lawyers' office in Santa Fe de Bogotá.
Only a few weeks after the massacre, on 8 January 1992, three men who were involved
in an independent investigation of the massacre, Carlos Edgar Torres Aparicio, Rodolfo
Alvarez and Etnio Vidardo, were killed or "disappeared". At that time the CRIC, which
has been involved in advisory work with the indigenous communities of northern Cauca,