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24 January 2003


UA 23/03 Fear for safety/Threats




María Eugenia López (f),

Other members of the Asociación de Familiares de

Detenidos desaparecidos de Colombia (ASFADDES),

Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared

in Medellín, Antioquia department


Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of María Eugenia

López, a member of the Medellín branch of the Asociación de Familiares

de Detenidos desaparecidos de Colombia (ASFADDES), Association of

Families of the Detained-Disappeared, following reports that army-

backed paramilitaries have been looking for her. These reports also raise

concerns for the safety of other ASFADDES members in Medellín.


According to local sources, relatives of María Eugenia López were

informed that army-backed paramilitaries arrived in the neighbourhood

of El Limonar 2, Medellín, Antioquia department on 24 December 2002.

They reportedly received instructions from another paramilitary group

operating in the area to search for the López family. On 31 December a

man and a woman on a motorbike stopped at María Eugenia López'

home and repeatedly knocked on the door. They allegedly had with them

a photograph of María Eugenia López. No one answered the door and

they left. On 9 January 2003, a young man was reportedly sent by the

paramilitaries to inform María Eugenia López that Barny was waiting for

her. Barny is the name of a known paramilitary who operates in the area.

María Eugenia López answered that she didn't know anyone with that

name. The young man reportedly asked her to come with him but she

refused. Following this threatening incident María Eugenia López fled

the area.


María Eugenia López has been a member of ASFADDES since the

"disappearance" of two of her relatives, Olga Luz Echevarria Arreiza and

Eliécer Pérez Morales, on 28 March 1990 in the municipality of

Yarumal, Antioquia department. On 5 June 1990 another six of her

relatives, Marta Maria López, Luis Gildardo López Gaviria, Ana Yoli

Duque López, Marta Milena Duque López, Elvia Rosa Espinosa and

Hernán Quintero, were reportedly killed during an attack by an army-

backed paramilitary group known as Los Doce Apóstoles, The Twelve

Apostles. Her partner, Cristobal Vargas, allegedly "disappeared" on 20

January 1991 in San Pablo Municipality, Department of Antioquia.



Human rights defenders, including relatives of victims of human rights

violations campaigning for justice, have frequently been victim of attack,

"disappearance", harassment and other human rights violations. These

are often committed by the security forces and their paramilitary allies

seeking to protect the impunity they enjoy for their crimes.


Many members of ASFADDES have been among those targeted.

ASFADDES is a non-governmental human rights organization made up

of relatives of people who have "disappeared" during the conflict

between the armed forces, their paramilitary allies and the armed

opposition groups who control a large part of the country. It aims to

discover what has happened to the "disappeared" and also to bring those

responsible to justice.


Two members of the Medellín branch of ASFADDES, Angel Quintero

and Claudia Monsalve, "disappeared" in October 2000 and their

whereabouts remain unknown. (See UA 259/00, AMR 23/081/00, 9

October 2000). At the time of the "disappearances" it was found that

ASFADDES' telephones were amongst several thousand which had been

illegally tapped by the security forces. No one has been brought to justice

for the "disappearance" of Claudia Monsalve and Angel Quintero.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as

quickly as possible:

- urging the Colombian authorities to take immediate and effective action

to protect María Eugenia López and the other members of the the

Medellín Branch of the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos

desaparecidos de Colombia (ASFADDES);

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

María Eugenia López and for the results to be made public and for those

responsible brought to justice;

- asking them also to take immediate and effective action to ensure that

other members of ASFADDES can carry out their legitimate and

important work for the defence of human rights in safety;

- reminding the authorities of their obligations to human rights defenders,

as laid out in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of

Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect

Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the

Organization of American States Human Rights Defenders in the

Americas resolution and in repeated recommendations made to them by

the UN;

- urging the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle

paramilitary groups, in line with UN recommendations.





President of the Republic:

Señor Presidente Álvaro Uribe Vélez

Presidente de la República

Palacio de Nariño

Carrera 8 No.7-26

Santafé de Bogotá


Telegram: Presidente de la República, Bogotá, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 342 0592

Salutation: Excmo. Sr. Presidente Uribe / Dear President Uribe


Minister of the Interior and Justice:

Sr. Fernando Londoño Hoyos

Ministro del Interior y de Justicia

Ministerio del Interior

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

Santafé de Bogotá


Telegram: Ministro Interior, Bogota, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 566 4573

Salutation: Dear Sir / Sr. Ministro


Governor of Antioquia Department:

Sr. Eugenio Prieto Soto (e)

Gobernador del Departamento de Antioquia, Gobernación de Antioquia

Calle 42B, # 52-106,

Medellín, Antioquia


Telegram: Gobernador de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 4 3811342

Salutation: Dear Governor / Sr. Gobernador


Attorney General:

Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio,

Fiscal General de la Nación, Fiscalía General de la Nación,

Diagonal 22B 52-01 (Ciudad Salite),



Fax: 011 57 1 570 2022 / 2017 (if someone answers say "me

da tono de fax por favor")

Salutation: Dear Dr. Osorio / Estimado Dr. Osorio


Association for Relatives of the "Disappeared":

ASFADDES - Nacional

AA 011446




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 March 7, 2003.



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including contact information and stop action date

(if applicable). Thank you for your help with this



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Email: uan@aiusa.org


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