Boletín mensual

Bulletin 15 MOVICE (English)

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Read the October 2009 informative Bulletin.

Persecution of MOVICE and its members

Threats and harassments against family members of victims of extrajudicial executions in Soacha
The local ombudsman of Soacha (Cundinamarca), Fernando Escobar, said he has received information on intimidations against family members of seven of the eleven young people that had been disappeared and afterwards reported as killed in combat in the Northern Santander department. The official explained that the threats are made by telephone, by text messages, directly or through pamphlets or writings. From the moment they started making allegations about the disappearance and subsequent murder of their children, the mothers of Soacha have received threatening calls, have been the victim of harassments, have been followed by suspicious people, which over time have intensified, especially at this moment in which the trials against the soldiers involved in the executions are taking place.

Harassments against the daughter of Ingrid Vergara, member of the Sucre Chapter of the MOVICE
From the 19
th of October, 14 year old Cendy Paola Vergara, daughter of human rights defender Ingrid Vergara, has been monitored by a polarized car in the city of Sincelejo (Sucre) in several instances. On the 26th of October Cendy Paola was waiting at school for her bus to come when he saw the same white car Mazda 3 with tinted windows that had been following her these last days. People in the car approached two children, who then headed to Cendy expressing her "You should tell your mom that she has to keep quiet if you want to reach new year." Ingrid Vergara has been threatened in several instances, the last time on the 2nd of July 2009, when she received an invitation to attend her own funeral. 2

Organisations of the social and communitarian Minga threatened again

On October 22nd 2009, a threat arrived by fax to the offices of the trade union central CUT Valle. Signed by the ‘Black Eagles New Generation’ paramilitary group, the threat declares the following organisations as military objectives: NOMADESC, CUT VALLE, Proceso de Comunidades Negras PCN (Black Communities Process), La Toma Community Council, Indigenous Cabildo Authority Cerro Tijeras. The following leaders were also named as military objective: Licifrey Arara- mining leader from Suarez municipality, Cauca department; Edwar Villegas- member of the CUT Valle Human Rights Team; José Goyes- member of the Political Commission of the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC); Diego Escobar- Member of CUT Valle Executive Committee; Plutarco- Member of human rights association Siglo XXI in Buenos Aires municipality, Cauca; and Meraldino Cabiche member of Suarez municipal council who has been the victim of multiple threats in the past week. 3

Another false judicial process against human rights defender

On July 31st 2009 the Attorney General decided to formally link David Ravelo Crespo to a judicial process, assigning it to the National Counterterrorism Unit, after David was mentioned by the paramilitary known as alias "El Panadero" in April 2008, as member of an insurgent group. David was called for a hearing on October 20st in Bogotá. David Ravelo Crespo is a human rights defender , Secretary General of the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights CREDHOS-and-survivor of the genocide against the Patriotic Union, a case that has been presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 4

Paramilitary presence grows in the south of Bolívar

In March 2009, through a public statement, paramilitary groups operating in the southern part of the Bolívar department publicly expressed their armed presence and power in the region of southern Bolívar and call themselves "Gaitanist Self-Defence Forces of Colombia”. In October 2009 these threats materialized with roadblocks and targeted assassinations. Over 20 paramilitaries have been conducting checkpoints and other activities for several weeks at the exit that leads from Rio Viejo to the town of Arenal, at the height of the property Villa Mercedes. Apart from the illegal checkpoints, patrols have been carried out during the night in the neighbourhoods of the town, announcing days of "social cleansing". It is alleged that these groups also recruit young people in the region. During the week of the 10th to the 17th of October 2009, the arrival of approximately 100 paramilitaries was observed, who settled on the farm La Democracia, located in the district Caimital of the municipality of Rio Viejo. Likewise there has been strong paramilitary presence in the port of La Gloria (Cesar) and the district Papayal from the municipality of San Martín de Loba. 5

Arbitrary arrests at the National University

Since the beginning of October a process of discussion on the university budget and the approval of the new statute of Welfare and Coexistence is being carried out in the National University (UN) in Colombia. Within these processes of discussion, on Thursday 8th October an assembly was held, in which the university declared itself in a Permanent Assembly. On October 13th a new assembly was performed in which the university community called out for a strike until Wednesday, October 21st. As part of this strike a forum on financing the university was held on Friday 16th of October to which the Rector of the National University, Moisés Wasserman, had been formally invited and refused to attend the event. Around 5:20 in the afternoon of the 16th, when the rector had left the campus and was in the rectory of the university, a presidential order was given to security forces to enter violently into the University, with three hundred troops on foot, seven tanks and fifty motorbikes. As part of this action twenty people were arrested, among whom was a minor, several people who were participating in a Christian event in the facilities of the university, and students who were practicing some sports on the college. These people were moved to the buildings of the Teusaquillo Police Station, and later to the Permanent Justice Unit, where they were detained until the 17th of October in the morning. Throughout this situation the President of the Republic, Álvaro Uribe Vélez presented himself in the media, saying that this act must be considered as kidnapping, and that the people who were detained were to be persecuted on charges of kidnapping simple. 6

Violence against several female human rights defenders

Lorena Garcia Yenice Truque 30 years old, was killed on the 3rd of October 2009 in Buenaventura. Yenice served at the Foundation for Development of Women of Buenaventura and the Pacific Coast, FUNDEMUJER, as a psychologist.
Izlena Rey Rodríguez, Human Rights Ombudsman of Meta, was attacked on October 17
th 2009 near the town of Puerto Toledo (Meta). The attack was committed against a crewman on the boat that was travelling from the inspection of Puerto Toledo to the town of Puerto Rico (Meta). The act was committed by a young person in civilian clothes who carried a weapon.

María del Rosario Alvarez, a young humble, honest and hardworking woman selling street food in the evenings to bring a sustenance to her family, was murdered outside her home in Granada, Meta, on October 15
th 2009. Mary was a relative of a facilitator of the Group of Victims at the Humanitarian Roundtable and of the regional Meta chapter of MOVICE. 7

Assassinated member of the Regional Indigenous Council of Risaralda

On October 11th, the 22-year-old Leonardo Wazirukama, was killed. Leonardo had served as an indigenous guard in the Reservation of Purembará, located in the municipality of Mistrato, (Risaralda). On the 1st of October, members of the Regional Indigenous Council of Risaralda (CRIRES ) were threatened by a text message sent to cell phones of some directors, with the text: "Gentlemen of the board of the indigenous organization, you have a deadline of 5 days to resign for corruption and if you don’t you run the risk that you are murdered as well as your families, sincerely Southern Bloc. The threat came a day after ä Public Hearing was held to socialize the results of a humanitarian commission held this year by the Ombudsman, the Early Warning System of the Ombudsman and members of social organizations and multilateral institutions to investigate human rights violations in the region. 8

MOVICE’s Activities

Seven years after the operation Orion

On the 16th of October 2009, relatives of victims of the Thirteen Commune of Medellin, MOVICE and human rights organizations in the city of Medellin, made a public act in homage of the victims of human rights violations and crimes against humanity that occurred in this community in the development of Operation Orion and afterwards. 9

Social Forum in Medellín

Between the 25th of September and October 11th in Medellín the Social Forum for Life, Dignity and popular identity was held under the banner of “Our Territories are possible, without Poverty and Exclusion!”

Visit by the Ethical Commission

As part of the VII Visit of the Ethical Commission for Truth, an initiative of MOVICE for the reconstruction of collective memory, the safeguarding of the truth of the victims and the support for initiatives to dignify, the Seed House was presented as well as three Areas of Biodiversity in the village of Tequendama, municipality of Sucre (Cauca). The visit took place between 30 October and the 2nd of November. 10

Launch of book by the Sons and Daughters for Memory and Against Impunity Movement
The Sons and Daughters Movement made a presentation of their book "From our Voices: Memories for a new way" in the new Cultural Center "El Eje" on the 22nd of October.

Simultaneous release of documentary on the human rights situation in the Public University

The 8th and 9th of October the documentary “Freedoms and Rights in the Colombian Public University” was simultaneously shown in several cities in Colombia, Spain, Mexico and The Netherlands. To watch the documentary:

Visit by Cahucopana to Geneva

From the 3rd uptil the 7th of October Gerardo Acero, a member of the Corporation Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in the North East of Antioquia (Cahucopana), visited the city of Geneva, Switzerland, in order to put before the Special Representative of the UN General the issue of human rights violations and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, specifically with respect to the presence of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti in the municipality of Remedios, Antioquia . (…) From Colombia there were also representatives of the Lawyers Collective José Alvear Restrepo, the Juridical Corporation Yira Castro and the Caribbean Network of Users of Public Services, who presented the general context of human rights violations in the context of resource exploitation and public service delivery. 11

"Eleven lives of Toluviejo live forever"

With this phrase, family and friends walked through the streets of Toluviejo in the night of October 6th, recalling the memory of 10 young people murdered and one that had been disappeared. 12

Recognition Award for Prince Gabriel Gonzalez

Principe Gabriel Gonzalez, a student leader and regional coordinator of the Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners of Colombia (CSPP), was elected by Human Rights First to receive the Human Rights Award 2009 for his courageous defence of human rights in Colombia. He was honoured October 22nd at Chelsea Piers in New York. Principe Gabriel has worked to promote access to justice for prisoners and victims of Colombia’s conflict. Ironically, Gonzalez’s advocacy led to his own arrest and detention on the false charge of being a guerrilla leader. He was detained for more than a year, lived in exile to escape judicial harassment, and now faces seven more years in prison on trumped-up charges if his test-case appeal to Colombia’s Supreme Court is unsuccessful. 13

Hearing before the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights

With the presence of the UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya, Ambassador of Colombia to the White House, Carolina Barco, the president of the Lawyers Collective "Jose Alvear Restrepo", Reinaldo Villalba Vargas, Gabriel Gonzalez and Congressman James McGovern, the hearing before the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress was successfully conducted on October 22nd in Washington. During the hearing, which main purpose was to examine the critical situation human rights defenders in Colombia are facing, Margaret Sekaggya urged the Colombian government to cease to stigmatize human rights defenders and to investigate the denounces that these make. Also, she repeated her request to declassify intelligence reports of human rights defenders, as she had mentioned on her visit to Colombia, between the 7th and 18th September. 14

Victim's rights

Process against Vice President Santos for his alleged ties with paramilitary commanders is reopened

The vice-general attorney, Fernando Pareja, revoked the closure of the judicial process against Vice President Santos and questioned the prosecutor handling the case, telling him to do a serious, complete and thorough investigation before making a final decision. In the 19-page ruling, signed on 16 October, Pareja said that the statements of former paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso, Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias Jorge 40 ', Diego Fernando Murillo, alias "Don Berna" and alias “el capitán Rojas”, former leader of the Capital Block of the AUC, should be taken into account.15

Vice President Fransisco Santos pleaded to be innocent in a broadcast on Caracol Noticias on October 22nd accusing at the same time human rights organizations of being allied with the paramilitaries. "You know what makes me sad? That the people who are happy with what's happening are the Human Rights NGOs and the paramilitaries. This to give more then one the chicken pocks. These alliances should leave us, and that justice should be responsible for them, should leave us extremely uncomfortable." That same day the request for extradition by the US Justice system of former commander of the "Elmer Cárdenas Block" of the AUC, Freddy Rendón Herrera, alias "El Alemán", was filed before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court. Consequently, the concept of extradition will take a few weeks, while the high court reviews whether the demobilized meets the legal requirements to be send to a U.S. court.16

According to Iván Cepeda, spokesman of the MOVICE "Among the data that [Freddy Rendón Herrera] has provided to the Colombian justice system, there is one that is really relevant within the actual context, since it shows the role Vice President Francisco Santos, has played in the conformation of one of the paramilitary blocks, namely, the Capital Block" he said. Rafael Barrios, a lawyer from the Lawyers Collective José Alvear Restrepo, coincided with the position of Cepeda, stating that such extraditions are hampering the reparation to victims and the discovery of the truth of this criminal actions.17

Free Trade Agreement with European Union

On the 13th of October Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) called the European Union (EU) to give priority to the protection of human rights in its bilateral relations with Colombia. The petition was part of an international campaign by 224 organizations, including Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the International Bureau on Human Rights, Action on Colombia (OIDHACO). The NGOs urged the EU to put human rights "at the top of the agenda of diplomatic relations, cooperation and trade" with Colombia and to pressure the Colombian government to make a "real change of politics" in that sense.18



1 “Las madres de los jóvenes de Soacha víctimas de los “falsos positivos” denuncias nuevas amenazas”, Caracol Noticias 22/10/2009

2 “Hostigamiento a hija de defensora de derechos humanos, Sucre”, Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz 28/10/2009

3 “Organizaciones de la minga de resistencia social y comunitaria nuevamente blanco de amenazas” NOMADESC y otras organizaciones 22/10/2009

4 “David Ravelo Crespo”, documento interno octubre 2009

5 “Avanza el paramilitarismo en el Sur de Bolivar en medio de la militarización de la región”, Corporación Sembrar 28/10/2009

6 “Denuncian la grave situación de derechos humanos que se ha venido viviendo con respecto a la situación de derechos humanos de los miembros de la comunidad universitaria de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia” FEU 19/10/2009

7 “Comunicado Publica” Coordinación Nacional de Desplazados 23/10/2009

8 “Asesinado alguacil del pueblo indígena embera chami del municipio de Mistrató de Riseralda”, Comité Permanente por la defensa de los Derechos Humanos 11/10/2009

9 “Comunicado de Prensa” 15/10/2009 MOVICE capitulo Antioquía

10 “Parti-sí-pa 209, declaración casa de semillas y visita Comisión Ética de la Verdad, Cauca” CJyP 19/10/2009

11 “Organización campesina del Nordeste Antioqueño presente situación de DH ante la ONU” Cahucopana 15/10/2009

12 “Once vidas de Tolúviejo presentes para siempre” CJyP 8/10/2009

13 “Activista Colombiano recibe visa para recibir premio de derechos humanos prestigioso”Human Rights First 15/10/2009

14 “Relatora de Naciones Unidas solicita no estigmatizar a defensores de ddhh en audiencia ante el congreso de EEUU”Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo 22/10/2009

15 “Revelan expediente contra Vicepresidente Santos por presuntos nexos con AUC” El Espectador 23/10/2009

16 “Radicada solicitud de extradición de alias 'El Alemán' a EEUU” 22/10/2009 RCN

17 “ONG se opone a extradición de alias “El Alemán” El Espectador 24/10/2009

18 “Piden ONG a UE prioridad a Derechos Humanos en relacióno con Colombia” Notimex 13/10/2009