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UA 408/93 - Colombia: harassment / preventative action: 70 members of the Association for the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Colombia (ASFADDES)

, Index number: AMR 23/072/1993

There is serious concern at reports of persistent undercover surveillance, harassment and intimidation by members of the army's intelligence unit (B-2) at the annual convention in Bogota of ASFADDES. Since 12 November over 70 families gathered there have reported incidents of being photographed, followed and jostled by a number of unknown men, some of whom were armed. The identity of these men was confirmed by two bodyguards from the civilian security agency, Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), assigned to protect Nodelia Parra, an ASFADDES member, who has herself been receiving death threats. They challenged one armed man who identified himself as a member of the B-2 intelligence unit.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/72/93
Distr: UA/SC
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
hotel rooms.
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.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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;
2
- urging that the inquiry establish who is responsible for ordering the
surveillance operation of ASFADDES, for what reasons and on what authority
this is taking place;
- urging that the authorities take all possible measures to guarantee the
safety of those allegedly under surveillance and to ensure that the members
of ASFADDES can continue to carry out their lawful and peaceful activities
without harassment.
APPEALS TO
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Gaviria, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7324/7434/287 7937
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President
Gaviria
2) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
Salutation:Sr. Procurador de la Nación / Dear Dr. Arrieta
3) Attorney General:
Dr. Gustavo de Greiff
Fiscal General de la Nación
Fiscalia General de la Nación
Apartado Aéreo 29855
Santafé de Bogotá
Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General, Fiscalia General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 287 0939
Salutation: Estimado Dr. de Greiff / Dear Dr. de Greiff
4) Minister of Defence:
Dr. Rafael Pardo Rueda
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santa Fé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa Pardo Rueda
Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
3
1) Association for Relatives of the "Disappeared":
Señores
ASFADDES
AA 011446
Santa Fé de Bogotá
Colombia
2) Advocate for the People:
Dr. Jaime Córdoba Triviño
Defensor del Pueblo
Defensoría del Pueblo
Avenida 39, No. 16-42
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 232 4640
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 30 December 1993.

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