• Campaigns

Colombia: Further information on fear for safety

, Index number: AMR 23/061/2001

Army-backed paramilitaries have reportedly threatened to kill members of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), Popular Women's Organization, and told at least one of them that she is a "military target". They and other human rights workers in the region are in grave danger.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/061/2001
8 June 2001
Further information on UA 22/01 (AMR 23/008/2001, 29 January 2001) and
follow-ups (AMR 23/028/2001, 8 March 2001 and AMR 23/035/01, 26 March 2001)
- Fear For safety
COLOMBIAActivists with the Popular Women’s Organization (OFP) in the department
of Santander
Pablo Javier Arenales, human rights defender
New name: Dany RADA JIMENEZ (f), aged 22
Army-backed paramilitaries have reportedly threatened to kill members of the
Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), Popular Women’s Organization, and told
at least one of them that she is a “military target”. They and other human
rights workers in the region are in grave danger.
On 18 May paramilitaries told OFP worker Dany Rada that she was a “military
target”. Since then she has received further death threats, and the
paramilitaries reportedly told community members in various districts of Puerto
Wilches, in Santander department, that they will kill more OFP members.
Dany Rada, who works in the municipality of Puerto Wilches, has reportedly
been kept under constant surveillance by men following her in the street for
the last few weeks. She reported all this to the police. On 3 June a paramilitary
reportedly stopped one of her family in the street and told him: “That bitch
keeps getting into trouble with us. We warned her not to complain [to the police]
and she did. I have a copy of the statement she gave to the Puerto Wilches
police.” (“Esa vieja se sigue metiendo en problemas con nosotros. Le advertimos
que no denunciara y lo hizo. Yo tengo copia de la declaración que ella hizo
ante la policía de Puerto Wilches.”) The man apparently claimed that a police
officer had given him a copy of the statement.
Paramilitaries have been warning people living in Puerto Wilches that the
women’s centres run by the OFP in Puerto Wilches are under threat (“La Casa
de la Mujer está amenazada”) and warning that “We may plant a bomb... The OFP
must be finished off” (“Es posible que colocaremos una bomba... La OFP se acaba
por que se acaba.”). In the past few months paramilitaries have tried to
undermine the OFP by telling local people in Santander that they are planning
to attack the organization so that they are too frightened to support it.
There is no further news of Pablo Javier Arenales, who works with the Corporación
Regional de Derechos Humanos (CREDHOS), Regional Human Rights Corporation.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern that army-backed paramilitaries have again intimidated
and threatened workers of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), and urging
the Colombian authorities to take action to protect all OFP human rights
activists, in line with formal requests by the Inter-American Commission of
Human Rights;
- asking them to order an immediate, impartial and full investigation into
the threats, and bring those responsible to justice;
- reminding the government of its obligations to human rights defenders, as
laid out in United Nations (UN) and Organization of American States
declarations, and urging it to follow repeated UN recommendations to take
measures to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security
forces and paramilitary groups operating in Barrancabermeja and the surrounding
area, urging that the results are made public and those found responsible for
supporting and participating in such groups be brought to justice.
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
Fax: + 57 1 336 2109 / 337 1351
Salutation:Dear President / Excmo. Sr. Presidente
Minister of Defence
Dr. Gustavo Bell Lemus
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
Fax: + 57 1 222 1874
Salutation:Dear Minister / Sr. Ministro
Governor of Santander Department
Gobernador del Departamento de Santander
Sr. Jorge Eliecer Gómez Villamizar
Gobernación de Santander
Calle 37, No. 10-30
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
Faxes: + 57 76 339889
Salutation:Dear Governor / Sr. Gobernador
Women’s grassroots organization
Organización Femenina Popular
Cra 22 No 52B 36
Barrancabermeja, Santander, 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 20 July 2001.

Choose a language to view report