27 May 2002
COLOMBIA Nidia Correa Velasquez (f), Members of the displaced community in Tulua, Valle del Cauca Department
Killed: Andres Robledo, President of the Asociacion ampesina de Base 'Los Yarumos', 'Los Yarumos' Peasant Association
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Nidia Correa Velasquez and members of the forcibly displaced community of Tulua, department of Valle del Cauca. She was reportedly abducted on 16 May by five unidentified individuals, who are thought to be members of an army-backed paramilitary group operating in the area.
Two days after her abduction, Andres Robledo, President of the Asociacion Campesina de Base 'Los Yarumos', 'Los Yarumos' Peasant Association was reportedly shot dead by army-backed paramilitaries. Members of the Association have reportedly been threatened by paramilitaries since July 1999.
At 6:20 a.m. on 16 May, Nidia Correa Velasquez reportedly left for work, from the disused factory where she and other members of the displaced community to which she belongs have been sheltered. She was however stopped by four men and a women traveling in a taxi and on a motorbike. She was forced into the taxi and has not been seen since.
The displaced community in the municipality of Tulua has been threatened and harassed by army-backed paramilitaries of the area. They have reportedly been given an ultimatum to leave their shelter at a disused factory in Tulua. They have informed the authorities about this threat and asked for protection in line with the recommendations of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights to protect the civilian population.
Peasant farmer leaders and forcibly displaced people are often labeled guerrilla sympathizers or collaborators by the security forces and their paramilitary allies. These accusations are frequently followed by serious human rights violations committed by paramilitaries. Organizations working with the displaced communities have also been the target of threats and human rights violations.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- express concern for the safety of Nidia Correa Velasquez, who has not been seen since 16 May, and urging the authorities to do everything necessary to find out where she is and guarantee her safety;
- urging the authorities to order full and impartial investigation into the abduction of Nidia Correa Velasquez and the killing of peasant farmer leader Andres Robledo, to publish the results and for those responsible to be rought to justice;
-expressing concern for the safety of the displaced community in Tulua, department of Valle del Cauca, following threats and harassment from army-backed paramilitaries in the area;
- asking the authorities what measures, deemed appropriate by those under threat themselves, they are going to take to guarantee the safety of those at risk;
- calling for a full and impartial investigation into these threats for the results to be 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 the department of Valle del Cauca; urging that the results 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 organizations.
President of Colombia:
Senor Presidente Andres Pastrana
Presidente de la Republica
Palacio de Narino
Carrera 8 No. 7-26
Santafe de Bogota
Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogota, Colombia
Telex: 396 44281 PALP CO
Fax: 011 57 1 566 20 71
Salutation: Dear President Pastrana / Excelentisimo Sr. Presidente Pastrana
Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio
Fiscal General de la Nacion
Fiscalia General de la Nacion,
Apartado Aereo 29855, Diagonal 22B 52-01 (Ciudad Salite),
Santafe de Bogota, Colombia
Telegram: Fiscal General, Bogota, Colombia
Fax: 011 57 1 570 2022/2003 (if someone answers say 'me da tono de fax por favor')
Salutation: Dear Dr. Osorio / Estimado Dr. Osorio
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
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
Non-governmental Organization National Association for Solidarity:
Asociacion Nacional de Ayuda Solidaria (ANDAS)
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 July 8, 2002.