EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/22/94
UA 58/94 Extrajudicial Execution / Death Threats 17 February 1994
COLOMBIA Two leaders of community support group for local unemployed:
Germán de Jesús AVILA DUQUE, aged 44, tradesman
Amnesty International has learned of the killing of Germán de Jesús Avila Duque
on 1 February 1994 in the town of Orito, Putumayo department, reportedly by
agents of the National Police. Amnesty International is now also concerned
for the safety of his colleague Arley Quiñonez, who has received death threats.
Sources state that at 8.30 pm on 1 February, Germán de Jesús Avila Duque was
shot dead in a street leading to the Colombia district of Orito by two armed
men, who then fled on a motorcycle. Eye-witnesses stated that they recognized
the killers, who were in civilian dress, as police agents and named one of
them. Subsequent to the killing, Arley Quiñonez has been threatened that she
will be the next target and there is serious concern for her safety.
Both Germán de Jesús Avila and Arley Quiñonez have been active in the community
as leaders of a local organization for the unemployed, CORDOVIP, (Corporación
de Desempleados de Oficios Varios), Germán de Jesús Avila as Secretary and
Arley Quiñonez as President.
In recent years widespread and systematic human rights violations have occurred
in Colombia, including extrajudicial executions, "disappearance", torture and
arbitrary arrest. Particular targets have been members of left-wing parties,
trades union and community leaders. The majority of such abuses have been
attributed by the Colombian authorities to armed opposition groups or to
civilian "death squads" which it claims it is unable to control. On the basis
of available evidence, Amnesty International concludes that many such abuses
are carried out by members of the Colombian armed forces or civilians working
under their command or with their support.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the killing of Germán de Jesús Avila Duque on 1 February
1994, reportedly by national police agents;
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough investigation into the killing,
the results of which should be made public and those found responsible brought
- urging that, taking into account the killing of Germán de Jesús Avila Duque,
there also be a thorough inquiry into the death threats against Arley Quiñonez,
the results of which should be made public;
- urging that the government take all possible measures to protect the lives
of those working for CORDOVIP and all community workers, so that they can carry
out their lawful activities without fear for their lives.
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo