The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) issued an urgent action today (see below in Spanish) following a death threat that was sent on July 4, 2012 to 13 Colombian human rights defenders.
The threat which included a photo of each of the thirteen defenders states:
“13 guerrillas camouflaged in the role of human rights defenders, 13 military targets. Our army has clear instructions to take down these bastards who want to take the land from good citizens to give it to guerrillas like themselves. Be warned and know that we have clearly identified your security programs and those without them SOB shit guerrillas who with the excuse of being a human rights defender attempt through various arbitrary means to take land away from the rightful owners in order that it end up in the hands of a handful of bastard, SOB guerrillas”
Among the 13 people named are several people that CoDev and other Canadian groups have worked closely with for years, including Yessika Hoyos of the Lawyer’s Collective (CCAJAR), Lilia Solano of Justice and Life and Aida Quilcue, elder and leader of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC). Human Rights defender Lilia Solano is pictured here during a visit with OPSEU members and staff in 2010.
The Observatory asks that letters be sent immediately to the Colombian authorities asking:
- That the government adopt immediate measures to guarantee the life, security and physical and psychological integrity of the people threatened and everyone who works in thoseorganizations;
- Undertake an independent, immediate, exhaustive and impartial investigation into the threats with the intentions of indentifying those responsible, bringing them to a competent, independent, just and impartial court and applying penal or administrative sentences according to the law;
- Ensure the end of all types of aggression, threats, harassment and violence against organizationsand individuals who defend human rights in Colombia;
- Guarantee the application of the article of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders