• Campagnes

Colombia: Further information on: fear for safety / possible extrajudicial executions: Peasant farmer families living on the Bellacruz ranch, department of Cesar

, N° d'index: AMR 23/043/1996

Jaime Laguna Collazo, peasant farmer leader and teacher, Edinson Donado, peasant farmer; new names: Belen Torres, president of national peasant farmer association, Luis Jose Lemus Sanchez, Segundo Vasquez, Otoniel Canizares Jacome: Peasant farmer families forced from their lands on the Bellacruz ranch earlier this year continue to face paramilitary activity in the areas neighbouring the ranch. On 4 July paramilitaries allegedly killed three civil servants, Luis Jose Lemus Sanchez, Segundo Vasquez and Otoniel Canizares Jacome. There is also serious concern for the safety of members of non-governmental peasant farmer and human rights organizations who have been supporting the peasant farmers in their claims. Armed forces commanders have accused these organizations of being guerrilla sympathizers and death threats have been made against the leader of a national peasant farmer association, Belen Torres.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 23/43/96
23 July 1996
Further information on UA 74/96 (AMR 23/17/96, 19 March 1996) and follow-up
(AMR 23/26/96, 9 May 1996) - Fear for Safety / Possible Extrajudicial Executions
COLOMBIAPeasant farmer families living on the Bellacruz Ranch, department of
Cesar
Jaime LAGUNA COLLAZO
Edinson DONADO
new names:Belén TORRES, president of national peasant farmer association
Luis José LEMUS SÁNCHEZ
Segundo VÁSQUEZ
Otoniel CAÑIZARES JACOME
Peasant farmer families forced from their lands on the Bellacruz Ranch,
department of Cesar, earlier in 1996 continue to face paramilitary activity
in the areas neighbouring the ranch. There is also serious concern for the
safety of members of non-governmental peasant farmer and human rights
organizations who have been supporting the peasant farmers in their claims.
Armed forces commanders have accused these organizations of being guerrilla
sympathizers and death threats have been made against the leader of a national
peasant farmer association, Belén Torres.
The threat against Belén Torres, the president of the Asociación Nacional de
Usuarios Campesinos - Unidad y Reconstrucción (ANUC-UR), National Association
of Peasant Farm Workers - Unity and Reconstruction, was reportedly made by
members of the paramilitary group responsible for expelling the peasant families
from Bellacruz (see original UA). ANUC-UR has been supporting the families
in their efforts to return to their lands.
Amnesty International has received a dossier prepared by the Commander of the
Colombian Army which claims that the support of ANUC-UR, together with that
of the non-governmental human rights organizations, MINGA, CSPP and Grupo de
Apoyo de Desplazados - Displaced Peoples' Support Group, for the displaced
families is guided by their links with guerrilla groups.
The death threat against Belén Torres and the allegations of guerrilla
collaboration come at a time of continued harassment against peasant farmer
families displaced from Bellacruz and human rights violations by paramilitary
forces against civilians in the region.
According to information received, the paramilitary group operating on the
Bellacruz Ranch has threatened shopkeepers in the nearby municipality of Pelaya,
ordering them not to trade with the evicted families who have taken refuge
in the town. Tension in the municipality of Pelaya has increased in recent
weeks as a result of military confrontations with guerrilla forces. Allegations
have been made that the armed forces have used civilians as human shields
resulting in at least one death and several injuries.
On 4 July the paramilitary group was reportedly responsible for killing Luis
José Lemus Sánchez, Segundo Vásquez and Otoniel Cañizares Jacome, all civil
servants working for the municipality of Pelaya, seven kilometres from Pelaya
in a place known as Puente de Simaña.
2
Furthermore, the Casa Campesina de Pelaya, Pelaya Peasant Farmer House, where
128 people forcibly evicted from the Bellacruz Ranch are currently housed,
has been left without police protection on several occasions. In agreements
between the peasant farmers and the Colombian authorities it was agreed that
permanent police guard of the Casa Campesina would be maintained. The Colombian
authorities have also failed to honour their commitment to implement outstanding
arrest warrants issued against paramilitary members responsible for gross and
persistent human rights violations.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Belén Torres, president of ANUC-UR,
subjected to a death threat in July 1996 and for other members of ANUC-UR,
MINGA, CSPP and Grupo de Apoyo de Desplazados who have been labelled as guerrilla
collaborators in a Colombian armed forces document;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into the death threat against
Belén Torres and urging that the results be made public and those responsible
be brought to justice;
- calling for full and impartial investigations into the killings of José Lemus
Sánchez, Segundo Vásquez and Otoniel Cañizares Jacome on 7 July by members
of the paramilitary group operating on the Bellacruz Ranch, urging that the
results be made public and that those responsible be brought to justice;
- calling for immediate measures to guarantee the safety of peasant farmer
families forcibly evicted from land on the Bellacruz ranch, and those who have
been supporting them;
if possible also:
- urge the government to immediately fulfil its commitment to disband
paramilitary forces presently operating as auxiliaries of the armed forces
or with armed forces' complicity. Members of such forces responsible for human
rights violations should be brought to justice;
- urge that outstanding arrest warrants issued against members of paramilitary
members responsible for human rights violations be carried out.
APPEALS TO:
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper Pizano, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 289 3377 / 286 7434
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Samper
2) Attorney General
Dr. Alfonso Valdivieso Sarmiento
Fiscal General de la Nación
Fiscalia General de la Nación
Apartado Aéreo 29855
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General Valdivieso, Fiscalia General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 287 0939 or 288 2828
Salutation: Estimado Dr. Valdivieso/Dear Dr. Valdivieso
3) Minister of Defence
3
Dr. Juan Carlos Esguerra Portocarrero
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado CAN - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa , Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Alternative Legal Association
MINGA
AA 40303
Santafé de Bogotá
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 15 September 1996.

Dans quelle langue voulez-vous lire le rapport ?