(Translated by Leo Torres, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
COL 013 / 0810 / OBS 098
Assault / Death threats
August 10, 2010
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Colombia.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has received, with concern, information from reliable sources about the assault against Ms. Judith Mojica Maldonado, Director of the Corporación Colectivo de Abogados Luis Carlos Pérez (CCALP) in Bucaramanga, Department of Santander.
According to information received on August 4, 2010 at 4:40 p.m., two gunmen on a motorcycle assaulted Ms. Maldonado when she was getting out of her vehicle in front of her office in the city of Bucaramanga. The men beat her and said, "you are asking to be killed, bastard." Finally they took her purse with documents and communication equipment. According to the same information, on the same day at 2:00 p.m., Ms. Judith Maldonado and Ms. Julia Adriana Cortes, also CCALP manager, were followed by two men on a motorcycle. These facts were duly reported to the Criminal Investigation Section (SIJIN).
CCALP members have been victims of threats and harassment for several years because of the organization’s work denouncing human rights violations. The CCALP provides support and legal advice to victims of forced displacement and to the process of defending the territory of the indigenous community “Motil Bari” and the Peasant Association of Catatumbo (ASCAMCAT), among others, against the interests of extractive companies operating in Catatumbo, one of the hardest hit regions by the social and political violence in the country.
For example, on March 12, 2010, Ms. Judith Mojica Maldonado received a message from the paramilitary group "Aguilas Negras” (Black Eagles) in her voice mailbox: "You got into a problem, a problem you will not slip away from. We will place a bomb; we will place one and you will be the culprits. You went into the community and we will not allow you to do that anymore. You went into where you should not. We say, a bomb and you are to blame. Hey Judith, your organization went into and ruined the plans, the plans that the Black Eagles had against them. You’re going to pay for it. You’re going to pay for it dearly.”
On April 13, 2009, the video "Catatumbo in focus," by ASCAMCAT was altered by people who are still unknown. The ten-minute video, posted on www.youtube.com, presenting the problems of the region and denouncing the interest of mining companies in the area, particularly coal companies and the crimes committed by paramilitaries and extrajudicial executions attributed to the security forces, was converted into a five-minute video entitled "Catatumbo targeted by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)" accusing the organizations that accompany the process of defending the territory of supporting subversive groups. This video was also posted on youtube website by a group called "ColombiasinPF."
In addition, on 1 April 2009, CCALP had detected the existence of “ghost mail” in the inbox of the organization’s email, a program capable of removing and replacing the mail received with blank emails, although the emails may still be visible in the inbox. We worry not only about the ability to extract and modify the contents of the inbox, but also about the threat that comes from including e-mails that can be used to compromise the work of the organization. Additionally, on March 31, 2009, a laptop, a digital recorder, a digital camera, an electronic appointment book, and a keyboard were taken from the same place where Ms. Judith Mojica Maldonado was staying in the town of Arauca. These elements contain data from eight years of work related to the fight against impunity, homeland defense and strengthening of social organizations.
All these facts, and previous threats, have been duly reported to the authorities. However, investigations thus far have not yielded results. Moreover, CCALP is one of the regional organizations listed in the folders of illegal intelligence activities conducted by the Department of Administrative Security (DAS).
The Observatory condemns the attack against Ms. Maldonado and expresses its serious concern regarding her physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of the other members of CCALP. The Centre makes calls on the Colombian authorities to put an end to all forms of harassment against human rights defenders in Colombia, and ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, and by the international covenants and conventions ratified by Colombia.
Please write to the authorities urging them that Colombia:
I. Immediately adopt the most appropriate measures to ensure the safety and physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Judith Maldonado Mojica and Julia Adriana Figueroa Cortes and other members of CCALP, as well as of all human rights defenders in Colombia;
II. Conduct an independent, prompt, thorough and impartial investigation on the above facts in order to identify those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent, fair and impartial court and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
III. Ensure an end to all kinds of threats and harassment – including judicial – against Ms. Judith Maldonado Mojica and Julia Adriana Figueroa Cortes, CCALP and general human rights defenders in Colombia;
IV. Ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of the UN, in particular as regards the protection of the right of everyone "individually or collectively, to promote and ensure the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels "(Article 1) as well as to the State’s duty to ensure "the protection of everyone, individually or collectively, against any violence, threats, retaliation, discrimination, negative in fact or in law, pressure or any other arbitrary action of the legitimate exercise of the rights enumerated in this Declaration" (Art.12.2);
V. In general, guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international standards of human rights ratified by Colombia.
S.E. Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic, Carrera 8 # 7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santa Fe de Bogota. Fax: + 57 1 566 20 71
Mr. Angelino Garzón, Vice President of the Republic Tels: +57 1 334 45 07, +573772 January 1930. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Dr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz, Defensor del Pueblo, Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá. Fax: + 571 640 0491, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Germain Vargas Lleras, Ministry of Interior and Justice, Carrera 8 No. 13-31 4th floor. Tels: 57.1.4443100 Ext 2410 Fax: +57 1 2827440 E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Guillermo Mendoza Diago (manager), Attorney General’s Office, Diagonal 22-B # 52-01, Bogotá. Fax: +571 570 2000, +571 414 90 00 extension 1113, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Alejandro Ordoñez Maldonado, Attorney General’s Office, Cra 5 #. 15-80, Bogotá. Fax: +57 1 342 97 23, + 571 284 79 49 Fax: +571 342 9723, E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Rodrigo Rivera, Minister of Defense, Avenida El Dorado Carrera 52 CAN, Bogotá. Fax: +126.96.36.199.74, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations in Geneva. Chemin du Champ d’Anier, 17-19, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland. FAX: + 41 22 791 07 87, E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Carlos Holmes Trujillo, diplomatic mission in Brussels: FAX: +32.2.646.54.91
Please also write to the embassies of Colombia in their respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, August 10, 2010.
Please inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a joint program of FIDH and OMCT, is aimed at the protection of human rights defenders, victims of rape and to providing concrete support. Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, 1998.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809.49.39 / 809.49.29
· Tel and fax FIDH: (+33 1) 43 55.25.18 / 4355.18.80