Bishop of Magangue rejects, laments and denounces the killing of Alejandro Uribe by the Colombian Army

Bogotá, D.C. 25 of September 2006

                                             DIÓCESIS DE MAGANGUÉ
                                            SUR DE BOLÍVAR – COLOMBIA

_All human beings have the right to exist, to physical integrity and the indispensable and sufficient means for a dignified life_ (Pacem in Terris, 11)  (Peace on Earth 11)
The Bishop of the Diocese of Magangué, in the Department of Bolívar – COLOMBIA, Monsignor Jorge Leonardo Gómez Serna, united with a his clerics and the parochial communities reject, lament and denounce the violent death of the young ALEJANDRO URIBE, leader and President of the Council of Community Action for the Gallo Mina (Junta de Acción Comunal de la vereda Mina Gallo) (Municipality of Morales) and member of the Federación Agrominera del Sur de Bolívar – FEDEAGROMISBOL- ,(Federation of Agro-mining of the South of Bolívar which occurred  on the 19th September 2006, at approximately 2pm in the area of Las Culebras, in the jurisdiction of Montecristo, Department of Bolívar, according to the community , carried out by soldiers from the Nueva Granada Battalion under the command of Captain Blanco, following the orders of Benjamín Palomino, Official Captain of Operations of said Battalion.

On the 8th September the leader ALEJANDRO URIBE participated in the Preaudience Assembly for the Permanent Tribunal of the People, which Hill take place on the 11th and 12th November 2006 in the city of Medellín. The Defensoría del Pueblo and Human Rights Organisations take part in this event.  Here the theme of the Environment and the multinationals was discussed and the abuses of the Military Forces of Colombia against the civil population, with the proposal of facilitating the entrance to the region of the multinational KEDAHDA S.A. filial de la ANGLO GOLD ASHANTI, were made public.

The death of the aforementioned leader is added to the worrying chain of attacks, blockades, threats and other assassinations that according to inhabitants of the zone are lamentable committed by members of the Nueva Granada Battalion of the Colombian Army.

These actions have resulted in the forced displacement of the whole mining sector that on that day have arrived in the place called La Ye, in the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Santa Rosa del Sur, in the Department of Bolívar. This is constantly repeated, and without the authorities investigating, clarifying and making the truth public, because making the miners and agricultural workers lose confidence in the politics of democratic security, and are worried by the extrajudicial executions, torture and cruel and inhumane treatment that are happening since the National Army has been in the zone, which opposes the respect and guarantee of the human rights of the civilian population which is the responsibility of the State.

The Pastors and parochial communities request:

To The National Government:

1.      That the actions mentioned , especially the assassination of the community leader Alejandro Uribe,  are seriously investigated by the civil justice system, the Public Ministry and the Fiscal, because it is considered a violation of the right to life as sacred and the right to the organisation, autonomy and peaceful living of the communities.

2.      To reconsider the politics of irrational exploitation of the natural resources of the region Sur de Bolívar and stop the pressure for massive purchases of the local peoples lands by companies, politicians and foreigners with clear economic interests which are causing the displacements, disorder, disintegration of families and communities and fear in the population.

3.      Assume an ethical and political front to the unequal tenancy of the land in the region, develop a pilot Project of agrarian reform and compensate the rights of the displaced population for the loss of the rights to possession and ownership of their lands in the Sur de Bolívar.

4.      To create the necessary conditions to retake the political way as a solution to the conflicts on the Sur de Bolívar. The creation of public politics that favour peace and the viability of human rights, as well as also constituting a regional peace team that would facilitate and accelerate consensus amongst government, insurgent groups and civil society, as a path to peace, which will stop the numbers of deaths of the agricultural workers and miners of this region, who maintain hope that in the  second term of President Uribe, he has room for peace, as has been manifest repeatedly in common advice
To the Armed Actors:

1.   Respect the lives and the integrity of the people and the communities
2.    Guarantee that you will comply with the norms of international human rights.
3.    Respect the processes of peace and the humanitarian space that the Diocese has constructed and strengthened permanently in the communities.

To the Multinational Companies:

1.    Abandon the expropriation of the lands of the workers who are displaced and subject to insecurity, manipulation and uncertainty. workers lands that
2.    Act with ethical and social responsibility in the exploitation of the natural resources.

To the International Community:

1.     Make an immediate humanitarian visit to the zone
2.     Support and accompany the observation of the completion of the International Human Rights and Human Rights in the Sur de Bolívar.
3.     Initiate, from this situation, strategies of schemes and repercussions for the people involved in these actions.

Magangué, September 22 de 2006

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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