STATEMENT OF FLOR AMARILLO
(Translated by Stacey Schlau, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)
HOMAGE TO THE SIBLINGS JENNI, JEFFERSON, AND JIMI TORRES JAIMES
Municipality of Tame, Departament of Arauca
On October 14, 2010, in the center of the town of Flor Amarrillo [sic], municipality of Tame, Department of Arauca, more than a thousand people from rural and urban areas took part in the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a special homage to the memory of Jenni, Jefferson, and Jimi Torres Jaimes. Active participants included delegates of social organizations–human rights, women’s, youth, peasant, indigenous, Afro-descent, and union advocates–and a significant presence of international and national delegates. Also present was Mr. José Alvaro Torres Jaimes. The siblings—14, 9, and 6 years old respectively—were massacred on October 14, 2010 by members of the national Army Mobile Brigade #5, in the neighborhood of Caño Temblador, municipality of Tame.
The event was meant as a gesture to all the victims of the conflict in the region, an affectionate greeting of solidarity and accompaniment, a renewal of the firm decision to continue building proposals of peace, reconciliation, and peaceful living together, all with the goal of reducing the intensity of the conflict, respecting human rights, international humanitarian rights, and, in the future, ongoing dialogues that would lead to true peace with social justice. Also, the serious social and humanitarian crisis evident in the Department should concern and draw the attention of all civil, military, and church authorities; political and economic sectors; and the community in general.
This is a true humanitarian drama in such a militarized region: in 2010, there have been more than 20 cases in which children and adolescents were victims of sexual violence and other attacks, 187 violent deaths, more than 16 kidnappings, 25 victims of anti-personnel mines, as well as continual attempts against people and property protected by international humanitarian law. In addition to this drama, there are the more than 35,000
displaced persons and hundreds of innocent people imprisoned and suffering inhumane conditions without their legal status being dealt with. Because of the serious situation, the Department of Arauca has become one of the most violent in the country. This spiral of perverse violence against Araucan youth culminated in the horrific assassination and rape of the girl Jenni, 14 years old, and her younger brothers, Jefferson, 9 years old, and Jimi Torres Jaimes, 6 years old, by the National Army Mobile Brigade #5—in addition to the rape of another girl on October 2, near the neighborhood where the massacre occurred.
For peasant and human rights organizations, these crimes against humanity are not isolated incidents, as Castro’s regime would like us to believe. Rather, they are part and parcel of a war tactic and systematic policy implemented in the regions, in order to intimidate and spread terror among the population. Because of this, we categorically deny the statements by high officials of the National Army, according to whom “peasants from the area may be involved in the assassination of the children.”
Because of the above, we demand:
1. Truth, justice, full reparation, and guarantees that these acts will not be repeated. We reject all attempts to derail the investigation, to cover up those responsible, because it is clear that besides under-Lt. Raúl Muñoz, other army officials are involved.
2. The federal Attorney General’s office immediately conduct an investigation to determine the perpetrators who actually assassinated the children, as well as those who ordered them to carry out this horrendous crime against all of society.
3. Punishment of the members of Brigade # 5 for this crime; the dismantling and immediate departure of the brigade from the Department. Aside from these rapes and the assassination of children, this brigade has been involved in many more atrocities, such as extrajudicial executions or false positives, in which they have assassinated peasants, calling them guerrilleros who have been killed in combat.
4. We demand that all infractions, hostilities, persecution, registrations, and occupation of peasants’ houses and ranches by public forces cease, and that, instead of repressing, they fulfill their constitutional duty to protect the life, honor, good name, and freedom of all inhabitants of the Department.
5. After such a terrible tragedy, full attention should be paid to Mr. José Alvaro Torres and his family, not the cheap aid offered by several agencies with the constitutional responsibility to resolve their work and housing situation, and basic services for their dignified subsistence.
6. To national and international human rights organizations, and especially the Office of the High Commission of the United Nations for Human Rights in Colombia, maintain a vigilant attitude regarding this crime against humanity, as its Director, Christian Salazar, announced.
Flor Amarillo, Tame, December, 2010.
PARTICIPANTS IN THE MASS PILGRIMAGE TO COMMEMORATE THE UNIVERSAL DAY OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
FOR THE MEMORY OF JENNI, JEFFERSON, AND JIMMI TORRES JAIMES;
FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND FULL REPARATION, AND GUARANTEES THAT THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.
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