EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/72/93
UA 408/93 Harassment/ Preventative action. 18 November 1993
COLOMBIA: 70 members of ASFADDES, at their
annual conference in Bogotá.
Amnesty International is seriously concerned at reports of persistent
undercover surveillance, harassment and intimidation by members of the
Colombian army's intelligence unit (B-2) at the annual convention in Bogotá
of ASFADDES, the Association for the Families of the Detained and Disappeared
in Colombia (Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos Colombia).
According to information received, since 12 November 1993 over 70 families
from all over Colombia who had gathered in Bogotá for the ASFADDES convention
have reported incidents of being photographed, both clandestinely and openly,
followed and jostled by a number of unknown men, some of whom were armed.
Suspicion as to the identity of these men was confirmed by two bodyguards from
the civilian security agency D.A.S. (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad)
who were assigned to protect Nodelia Parra, a member of ASFADDES, who has herself
been receiving death threats. They challenged one armed man who, after a
struggle, identified himself as a member of the B-2 army intelligence unit.
In another incident the members of the D.A.S. exchanged angry words with more
unidentified men, who admitted to conducting an intelligence operation and
to having agents within the Hotel Santa Fé, where the ASFADDES members were
staying. The members of the D.A.S. later identified the presence of at least
8 more members of the B-2 in and around the hotel.
Other incidents reportedly included the systematic photographing of family
members of ASFADDES participating in a peaceful march, the photographing of
participants of the convention as they came out of their hotel, surveillance
from cars and motorbikes and even harassment of members as they slept in their
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of the participants and
organisers of the ASFADDES convention, due to the reports of unwarranted
surveillance by the B-2 army intelligence unit. In the past, members of this
unit have been involved in serious human rights violations including
"disappearances" and extrajudicial executions.
In recent years widespread and systematic human rights violations have occurred
in Colombia, including torture, arbitrary arrest, "disappearance" and
extrajudicial execution. President César Gaviria Trujillo has repeatedly
pledged his government's commitment to protect human rights. However, members
of the Colombian armed and security forces continue to commit serious abuses
with virtual impunity. Civic leaders, trade unionists and human rights
activists are amongst the groups frequently targeted by the security forces
for arbitrary arrest, torture, extrajudicial execution and "disappearance".
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- requesting an immediate and thorough inquiry into the allegations of
unwarranted surveillance, harassment and intimidation of participants and
organisers of the ASFADDES convention in Bogotá since 12 November 1993;