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Colombia: Further information on Fear for Safety for forcibly displaced civilian communities

, Index number: AMR 23/072/2000

More than half of the forcibly displaced people sheltering in Tuluá have returned to their communities following paramilitary threats. They have been given no protection and Amnesty International believes that they are now in even greater danger.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/72/00
15 September 2000
Further information on UA 275/00 (AMR 23/71/00, 8 September 2000) - Fear for
Safety
COLOMBIAForcibly displaced civilian communities sheltering in Buga and Tuluá,
department of Valle del Cauca
Displaced community leaders
More than half of the forcibly displaced people sheltering in Tuluá have returned
to their communities following paramilitary threats. They have been given no
protection and Amnesty International believes that they are now in even greater
danger.
The Tuluá municipality provided a bus for the displaced communities to return
to their land, but apparently no measures have been taken to guarantee their
safety, or to confront paramilitaries operating in the region.
Paramilitaries recently ordered forcibly displaced people seeking refuge in
Tuluá to return home immediately, or at the latest before 15 September in a
leaflet signed by the army-backed paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de
Colombia - Bloque Calima (AUC), United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia - Calima
Bloc. The leaflet said that military action would be taken against those not
leaving.
The armed forces and their paramilitary allies often treat people from
internally displaced communities as guerrilla sympathizers or collaborators.
As a result, they frequently suffer serious human rights violations.
A number of army-backed paramilitary incursions have been reported in the
department of Valle del Cauca since July 1999. As a result, more than 200 people
have been killed and several thousand people have been forcibly displaced.
Despite repeated international condemnation and a strong security force
presence, no decisive action has been taken to confront and dismantle
paramilitary groups in the region.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of displaced communities remaining in Tuluá,
for those who have returned to their land, and for other displaced communities
in the department of Valle del Cauca;
- urging the authorities to take immediate and effective measures to guarantee
their safety;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security
forces and paramilitary groups operating in the department of Valle del Cauca,
urging that the results are made public, and that those responsible for
supporting and participating in such groups are brought to justice;
- urging the authorities to take immediate and decisive action to combat and
dismantle paramilitary groups, in line with repeated government commitments
and United Nations recommendations.
APPEALS TO:
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
2
Faxes:+ 571 286 7434 / 287 7939 / 284 2186 / 289 3377 / 337 1351
Salutation:Dear President / Excmo. Sr Presidente
Vice-President of the Republic
Señor Vicepresidente Gustavo Bell Lemus
Alto Consejero Presidencial para asuntos de Derechos Humanos y lucha Contra
la Corrupción
Cra. 8 #7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Fax:+ 571 337 1351
Salutation:Dear Vice-President / Excmo. Sr Vicepresidente
Minister of Defence
Dr. Luis Fernando Ramírez Acuña
Ministro de Defensa Nacional, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado CAN - Carrera 52, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegram: Ministro de Defensa, Bogotá, Colombia
Telex: 42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 571 222 1874
Salutation: Dear Minister / Sr. Ministro
Governor of Valle del Cauca Department
Señor Juan Fernando Bonilla, Gobernador del Departamento de Valle del Cauca
Gobernación de Valle del Cauca
A.A. 8759, Santiago de Cali, Colombia
Telegram:Gobernador, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Faxes:+ 572 885 8813
Salutation:Dear Governor / Sr. Gobernador
COPIES TO:
National Advocate for the People
Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes
Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoría del Pueblo
Calle 55, No. 10-32/46, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para Refugiados (ACNUR)
Calle 114 No.9-01 Edificio Teleport Torre A Oficina 601
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
Please also raise these concerns with your own government. Urge your government
to publicly condemn the latest threats and to monitor the efforts of the
Colombian government to ensure that these threats are fully investigated, those
responsible are brought to justice and action is taken to combat paramilitary
groups in the region.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 26 October 2000.

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