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Note: Please write on behalf of these people even though you may

not have received the original UA when issued on February 9, 2001. Thanks!


7 February 2003

Further Information on UA 38/01 issued 9 February 2001 and re-issued 14

February 2001 and 20 November 2002) Fear for Safety /Death Threats



Human rights activists with the Organización Femenina

Popular, (OFP), Popular Women's Organization in the

Cantagallo municipality, department of Bolivar

Jackeline Rojas (f)

New name: Cleotilde Morón (f)


Amnesty International continues to be concerned for the safety of human rights

activists of the Organización Femenina Popular, (OFP), Popular Women's

Organization in the Cantagallo municipality, department of Bolivar following

recent threats by army-backed paramilitaries.


On 5 February, a meeting in the offices of the OFP in Cantagallo to discuss

paramilitary threats against the OFP was interrupted by armed men believed to

be members of an army-backed paramilitary group. Despite the presence of

representatives of the Defensoría Regional del Pueblo, Regional National

Advocate for the People, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human

Rights, the mayor's office, other non-governmental human rights organizations,

the church and the OFP, the armed intruders threatened that they would return to

burn down the offices of the OFP in Cantagallo and would kill any OFP leaders

that remained in the offices.


The OFP has reportedly informed the Director of the Programa Presidencial

para la Promoción, Respeto y Garantía de los Derechos Humanos, Presidential

Program for the Promotion, Respect and Guarantee of Human Rights about this

incident. However, despite the fact that Cantagallo has both a police and army

presence, the authorities have taken no decisive action to dismantle paramilitary

groups operating in the area or to protect the OFP.


Human rights activists with the OFP in the departments of Bolivar and

Santander have been threatened repeatedly in the past (see AMR 23/011/2002,

28 January 2002; and UA 144/02, AMR 23/055/2002, 13 May 2002). The

former coordinator of the OFP group in Cantagallo resigned from her post in

December 2002 due to the constant threats and pressure from paramilitary

groups for her to do so. Her replacement, Cleotilde Morón was reportedly

approached two days after taking up the post by a paramilitary commander, who

claimed he knew she was the new coordinator of the OFP group in Cantagallo

and that this would cause her problems.


The threats issued by the paramilitaries are the latest in a long campaign of

intimidation of human rights activists in the area. Jackeline Rojas, who oversees

the work of the OFP in the Cantagallo area, was declared a "military target" in

November 2002 by army-backed paramilitaries who reportedly view the OFP as

a threat to their control over the area. Jackeline Rojas continues to oversee the

work of the OFP in the Cantagallo area. Amnesty International remains

concerned for her safety.



The OFP has been working to promote women's human rights in

Barrancabermeja, department of Santander and surrounding areas including the

municipality of Cantagallo for more than 30 years. They refuse to cooperate

with army-backed paramilitary groups, and have therefore faced continual

threats and harassment.




RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as


- expressing concern for the safety of Cleotilde Morón and other human rights

activists with the Organización Femenina Popular, (OFP), Popular Women's

Organization in Cantagallo, Bolívar department following the most recent

threats, issued on 5 February;

- calling on the Colombian authorities to investigate these threats fully and bring

to justice those responsible;

- urging the Colombian authorities to take steps, deemed appropriate by those

under threat, to guarantee the safety of human rights activists with the OFP, so

that they can carry out their legitimate human rights work without fear of


- calling on the Colombian government to initiate an ongoing and meaningful

dialogue with human rights defenders to address issues of their protection and

the prevention of attacks against them;

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

out in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of

Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally

Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Human Rights

Defenders in the Americas resolution of the Organization of American States

and in repeated recommendations made to them by the United Nations;

-expressing concern at the continued large-scale presence of army-backed

paramilitary forces in Cantagallo Municipality and surrounding areas despite the

heavy military presence in the area;

- calling for immediate decisive action to confront and dismantle these groups in

line with repeated UN recommendations and governmental commitments.





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


Vice-President of the Republic of Colombia:

Vicepresidente de la República de Colombia

Dr. Francisco Santos Calderón


Carrera 8A No 5-57

Santafé de Bogotá


Telegram: Vice-Presidente Bell, Bogotá, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 334 1138

Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Vicepresidente/ Dear Vice-President


National Advocate for the people:

Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes Muñoz,

Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoría del Pueblo,

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

Santafé de Bogotá


Telegram: Defensor del Pueblo, Bogotá, Colombia

Fax: 011 57 1 640 0491

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




Grassroots women's organization:

Organización Femenina Popular

Cra 22 No 52B - 36

Barrancabermeja, Santander



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 21, 2003.



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