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28 March 2002


UA 95/02 Fear for safety

COLOMBIA The civilian population of Puerto Rondon and Cravo

Norte municipalities, Arauca Department including at least 21 named




Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the civilian

population of Puerto Rondon and Cravo Norte municipalities, Arauca

Department, following reports of a planned paramilitary incursion into

the municipalities over Easter.


Suspected paramilitaries issued a death threat to at least 21 named

individuals in a leaflet circulated in Puerto Rondon on 6 March. Those

named were reportedly given one month to leave the region or else

they would become 'paramilitary targets'.


The XVIII Brigade of the Colombian Army have reportedly decided to

withdraw troops stationed in both the urban areas and outskirts of

Puerto Rondon and Cravo Norte municipalities. Given the reports of

a planned paramilitary incursion, as well as reports of paramilitary

checkpoints two kilometres from the Cravo Norte town centre,

Amnesty International fears that the civilian population has been left

unprotected from paramilitary attacks.


Non-governmental human rights organizations working in the area

have expressed their concern at the decision of the XVIII Brigade.

Many have requested preventative action on behalf of the civilian

population by the Colombian government and security forces in the




Members of the Colombian army and security forces and their

paramilitary allies commit serious human rights violations with virtual

impunity. In the last five years several thousand civilians have been

killed by paramilitary groups. The Colombian government suspended

the constitutional legal base for the formation of paramilitary

organizations and issued directives to the armed forces to combat

and disband such groups in 1989, yet they continue to work with the

support of the security forces - by action or omission - in many areas

of the country. Guerrilla forces have also carried out numerous killings

and other violations of international humanitarian law against

members of peasant, black, and indigenous communities, whom they

accuse of collaborating with the security forces or paramilitary



RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly

as possible:

- expressing concern for the safety of the civilian population in Puerto

Rondon and Cravo Norte;

- asking the authorities what action they will take to guarantee the

safety of those at risk;

- calling for a full and impartial investigation into the threats against at

least 21 people in Puerto Rondon, with the results made public and

those responsible brought to justice;

- calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the

security forces and paramilitary groups operating in Arauca

Department, and asking that the results of the investigation are made

public and those found responsible for supporting and participating in

such groups are brought to justice;

- urging the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle

paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments and

recommendations made by the UN and other intergovernmental




President of Colombia:

Senor Presidente Andres Pastrana

Presidente de la Republica

Palacio de Narino

Carrera 8 No. 7-26

Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telex: 396 44281 PALP CO

Fax: 011 57 1 566 2071

Salutation: Dear President Pastrana / Excelentisimo Sr.

Presidente Pastrana


Minister of the Interior:

Dr. Armando Estrada Villa

Ministro del Interior

Ministerio del Interior

Palacio Echeverry, Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o.

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: Ministro Interior, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 562 5298 (if someone answers say 'me da

tono de fax por favor')

Salutation: Dear Sir / Sr. Ministro


Commander General of the Armed Forces:

General Fernando Tapias Stahelin

Comandante General de las Fuerzas Militares

Avenida El Dorado - Carrera 52

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: Commander General, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 221 2935/ 222 2096 / 221 3653

Salutation: Dear Commander General Tapias Stahelin /

Estimado Sr. Tapias Stahelin


National Advocate for the people:

Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes Munoz

Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoria del Pueblo

Calle 55, No. 10-32/46 office 301

Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA

Telegram: National Advocate, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 640 0491

Salutation: Dear Mr. Cifuentes Munoz / Estimado Sr. Cifuentes




Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno

Embassy of Colombia

2118 Leroy Pl. NW

Washington DC 20008

Fax: 1 202 232 8643


Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office

between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if

sending appeals after May 9, 2002.


Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement

that promotes and defends human rights.


Please do not repost this appeal to any part of the Internet

without prior permission from Amnesty International. Thank you for

your help with this appeal.


Urgent Action Network

Amnesty International USA

PO Box 1270

Nederland CO 80466-1270

Email: uan@aiusa.org


Phone: 303 258 1170

Fax: 303 258 7881