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Further information on UA 456/91 (AMR 23/72/91, 20 December and follow-ups AMR 23/02/92, 30 January, AMR 23/13/92, 19 March and AMR 23/31/92, 5 June) -Colombia: threats / harassment (new concerns): twenty members of the Paez Indian community of Caloto, Ca

, Index number: AMR 23/067/1992

Survivors and relatives of victims of a massacre of at least 20 Paez Indians on 16 December 1991 have reported threats and harassment by armed civilians who appear to operate freely in the area despite the fact that it has been militarized. Lawyers working on behalf of the victims have reportedly also been threatened. Offical investigations into the 1991 massacre found evidence of police involvement, though these findings have yet to be made public. Documentation relating to the investigation has reportedly gone missing from the lawyers' offices.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/67/92
Distr: UA/SC
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
Department
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,
reported that five of its leaders had been receiving death threats since the massacre
occurred. On 29 May 1991, Oscar Elias López, who worked as the CRIC's legal adviser
and had received numerous death threats, was killed in circumstances suggesting he
may have been the victim of extrajudicial execution.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the reports of the threats and harassment of
survivors and relatives of those killed in the "El Nilo" massacre and of lawyers
working on the investigation of the case;
Page 2 of 4FU 456/91
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough inquiry into the threats and
harassment, the results of which should be made public and those found responsible
brought to justice;
- urging that the government take all possible measures to protect the survivors
and relatives of those who died and all those involved in the case investigation.
APPEALS TO
1) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla Salutation:Sr. Procurador de la Nación
Procurador General de la Nación Dear Dr. Arrieta
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:41213 PGNDP CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
2) Director General of the Police:
Mayor Miguel Antonio Gómez Padilla Salutation:Sr. Director General /
Director General de la Policía Nacional Dear Sir
Tr. 45, No. 40-11
Santa Fe de Bogotá
Colombia
Telegrams: Dir.-Gen. Policia Nacional, Bogota, Colombia
3) Minister of Justice:
Andrés González Salutation: Sr. Ministro /
Ministro de Justicia Dear Minister
Ministerio de Justicia
Carrera 15, No 9-63
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
4) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr.
Presidente de la República Presidente /
Palacio de Nariño Dear President Gaviria
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Gaviria, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 283 3066, + 57 1 286 7324, + 57 1 287 7937
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Indigenous People's Association of Cauca:
CRIC (Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca)
AA 516
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 4 December 1992.

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