Colombia urged to protect young people named on paramilitary 'death lists'
Amnesty International has urged the Colombian authorities to protect around 90 young people named on two paramilitary "death lists" on Facebook, after three people on the lists were killed last month.All the men and women on the "death lists" live in the town of Puerto Asis in the southern region of Putumayo. They have been warned to leave the town or they too will be killed."The authorities must do all they can to protect the people named on the death list," said Marcelo Pollack of Amnesty International."They must also order a full and impartial investigation into the three killings and bring those responsible to justice."The death lists were issued after the killings of two police officers in the town a month ago. The security forces blamed the guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).The details of all those named on the lists are not known although some are thought to have been involved in petty crime and prostitution while others are known community activists.On 15 August, Diego Ferney Jaramillo Corredor and Silver Robinson Muñoz were shot dead by gunmen riding on a motorcycle on a road outside Puerto Asís.Their names were the first two on the first list of 65 young men from the town that began circulating by email and Facebook shortly after the killing.The third man on the list, 19-year-old Norbey Álvarez Vargas, was killed by gunmen travelling on a motorcycle in the Villa Paz district of Puerto Asís on 20 August. Another youth named on the list was later shot and injured.The same day, a second list was circulated featuring the names of 31 local young women.Some of the youths have reported receiving threatening telephone calls since the lists were circulated. Many of the young people and their families have since fled.Youths living in poor districts of Colombian towns and cities have frequently been the target of paramilitary death squads either acting alone or with the collusion of the security forces."This is an unacceptable situation and the Colombian authorities must put an end to the killing by immediately dismantling paramilitary groups in accordance with commitments made by the government and recommendations made by the UN," said Marcelo Pollack.