Threats against Peace Community of San Josй de Apartadу | Amenazas contra la Comunidad de Paz de San Josй de Apartadу sign now

A continuaciуn en espaсol
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Dr. Mario Germбn Iguarбn Arana
Fiscal General de la Naciуn
Bogotб, Colombia

Dear Dr. Iguarбn Arana,

I am writing to convey my grave concern regarding the recent resurgence in paramilitary threats against the Peace Community of San Josй de Apartadу. I urge you to please take action to help address this increasingly precarious situation.

I understand that over the past several weeks, there has been a marked increase in paramilitary presence in and around the Peace Community. Residents of San Josй reported on October 31, 2008 that they fear an attack is imminent on the community.

 On October 15, a newly organized paramilitary group calling itself the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) held an armed strike, essentially shutting down several cities in the Urabб region, including Apartadу. The previous night, the AGC distributed leaflets warning people from opening up shops and schools. Reports from the ground allege that the police and army did not intervene in this strike.

 On October 30, paramilitaries detained three people from the area and told them to tell the Peace Community that they had a list of six people in the community that they would assassinate and residents should leave immediately or face the consequences.

 On November 1, 2008, two paramilitaries attacked Jesъs Emilio Tuberqua the Peace Communitys legal representative at gunpoint at an internet cafe. Mr. Tuberqua was able to escape his attackers. Mr. Tuberqua has received many threats from paramilitary groups in the past and his safety is in grave danger.

 On November 7, 50 paramilitaries carrying weapons and dressed in full uniform with AUC logos detained Jairo Berrio Arango from la Esperanza. They made him strip his clothes and put a gun to his head, intending to kill him. However, his father was able to convince them to let his son go. The paramilitaries told them to convey the message to all residents of the Peace Community that they intend to kill 6 people and everyone must leave to avoid being killed. Five families have already fled the area and there is a great risk that all the community will be forced to displace.

Due to these and similar events in recent weeks the community is fearful that an attack is imminent. I urge you to take the following actions in order to protect the community and prevent a mass displacement:

1. Conduct an impartial investigation into the paramilitary remobilization throughout Urabб and allegations that the 17th Brigade of the National Army as well as local police forces are not pursuing these paramilitary groups nor protecting citizens from their attacks.

2. Ensure immediate and impartial investigations are conducted into the threats against Mr Jesъs Emilio Tuberqua and Mr Jairo Berrio Arango, as well as the general threats against the residents of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartadу and concrete actions taken to protect these people, in accordance with the Resolution issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the Organization of American States on 15 March 2005.

3. Call on the authorities to take decisive action to confront and dismantle paramilitary groups operating in the region and to break their links with the security forces.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

CC:
Dr. Carlos Franco Echavarrнa
Director del Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos

Vicepresidente Francisco Santos Calderуn
Vicepresidente de la Repъblica de Colombia

Ambassador William R. Brownfield
Embassy of the United Status

Sr. Sergio Caramagna
Jefe de la Misiуn de Apoyo al Proceso de Paz en Colombia de la OEA

Ambassador Maria Carolina Barco Isakson
Embassy of Colombia

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Dr. Mario Germбn Iguarбn Arana
Fiscal General de la Naciуn
Bogotб, Colombia

Estimado Dr. Mario Germбn Iguarбn Arana,

Le escribo a Usted para transmitir mi preocupaciуn acerca de la nueva ola de amenazas por parte de los paramilitares contra la Comunidad de Paz de San Josй de Apartadу. Le insto a que por favor tome acciones para responder a esta precaria situaciуn, que ademбs va en aumento.

Tengo entendido que durante las semanas pasadas, se ha registrado un marcado aumento en la presencia paramilitar tanto en la Comunidad de Paz como en sus alrededores. Los residentes de San Josй informaron el 31 de octubre de 2008 que temen que un ataque a la comunidad es inminente. El 15 de octubre, un grupo paramilitar nuevo refiriйndose a si mismo como las Autodefensas Gaitinistas de Colombia (AGC) llevу a cabo un paro armado, esencialmente cerrando por completo varias ciudades en la regiуn de Urabб, incluyendo Apartadу. La noche anterior, las AGC distribuyeron folletos prohibiendo a la gente abrir tiendas y escuelas. Informes alegan que la policнa y el ejйrcito no intervinieron en este paro.

 El 30 de octubre, los paramilitares detuvieron a tres personas del бrea y les ordenaron decirle a la Comunidad de Paz que tenнan una lista de seis individuos en la comunidad a quienes ellos asesinarнan y que los residentes debнan salir inmediatamente o asumir las consecuencias.

 El 1 de noviembre, dos paramilitares atacaron a Jesъs Emilio Tuberqua el representante legal de la Comunidad de Paz con una pistola en un cafй Internet. El Sr. Tuberqua escapу de los perpetradores. El Sr. Tuberqua ha recibido varias amenazas por grupos paramilitares en el pasado y su seguridad sigue en peligro.

 El 7 de noviembre, 50 paramilitares portando armas y vestidos con uniforme completo con insignias de las AUC detuvieron a Jairo Berrнo de la Esperanza. Le obligaron a desnudarse y pusieron una pistola en su cabeza, con el fin asesinarlo. Sin embargo, su padre fue capaz de convencerlos de dejar ir a su hijo. Los paramilitares les ordenaron transmitir un mensaje a todos los residentes de la Comunidad de Paz en el que les comunicaban que tenнan la intenciуn de asesinar a 6 personas y que todos los habitantes debнan salir para evitar ser asesinados. Cinco familias ya huyeron del бrea y existe el riesgo de que toda la comunidad se vea forzada a desplazarse.

Es a causa de estos eventos y otros en las semanas recientes que la comunidad teme que un ataque es inminente. Le insto a Usted tomar las siguientes acciones para proteger a la comunidad y evitar un desplazamiento masivo:

1. Realice una investigaciуn imparcial acerca la re-movilizaciуn paramilitar por toda Urabб y los reclamos acerca de cуmo la Brigada 17 del ejйrcito nacional, junto con las fuerzas policiales locales, no estбn persiguiendo a estos grupos paramilitares ni estбn protegiendo a los civiles.

2. Garantice que investigaciones inmediatas e imparciales sean llevadas acabo por las amenazas contra el Sr. Jesъs Emilio Tuberqua y el Sr. Jairo Berrio Arango, y por las amenazas generales contra los residentes de la Comunidad de Paz de San Josй de Apartadу; y que sean tomadas acciones concretas para proteger a los habitantes siguiendo la Resoluciуn por la Corte Inter.-Americana de Derechos Humanos de la Organizaciуn de Estados Americanos el 15 de Marzo de 2005.

3. Pida a los autoridades tomar acciones decisivas para confrontar y desmantelar los grupos paramilitares operando en la regiуn y para romper sus vнnculos con las fuerzas de seguridad.

Gracias por su atenciуn a este asunto urgente.

CC:
Dr. Carlos Franco Echavarrнa
Director del Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos

Vicepresidente Francisco Santos Calderуn
Vicepresidente de la Repъblica de Colombia

Ambassador William R. Brownfield
Embassy of the United Status

Sr. Sergio Caramagna
Jefe de la Misiуn de Apoyo al Proceso de Paz en Colombia de la OEA

Ambassador Maria Carolina Barco Isakson
Embassy of Colombia

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