giovedì 26 luglio 2012

Colombia – Paramilitaries threaten peace community

Members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in northern Colombia have received death threats from paramilitaries. The Colombian armed forces have acknowledged the presence of paramilitaries but failed to protect the civilian population.
On 28 June two members of the Peace Community's Internal Council were followed by 50 paramilitaries carrying weapons whose use is restricted to the armed forces, as they made their way to the neighbouring hamlet of El Porvernir, Antioquia Department. The paramilitaries, who said they were “Gaitanista Forces of Colombia” (Fuerzas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) threatened to kill peasant farmer Fabio Graciano. He had also been threatened with death on 20 June when paramilitaries occupied his family's farm in El Porvenir, next to the Peace Community. His brother Oscar Mario Graciano was threatened with death on 11 May.
On 28 June a paramilitary stayed close to the home of a peasant farmer family in the hamlet of La Esperanza, which is part of the Peace Community, saying that he was “lost” (extraviado). When he was told he should ask the armed forces who were 15 minutes away, he said he did not have permission to approach his employers. The previous day, a member of the Veléz Battalion of the XVII Brigade, apparently implicated in the massacre of eight members of the Peace Community on 21 February 2005, acknowledged that several hamlets of the Peace Community were under control of the paramilitary Gaitanista Forces of Colombia, while others were controlled by guerrilla forces. Over the past few months paramilitaries and members of the armed forces have been seen repeatedly in the area. On 18 June the Peace Community estimated that there were about 400 paramilitaries between the hamlets of El Porvenir and La Esperanza, 100 of them on the land of the Peace Community.


Object: Paramilitaries threaten peace community

Dear President Santos,

I am writing to you as supporter of Amnesty International, the non governmental organization which since 1961 has been working in defense of human rights, wherever they are violated.
I express concern for the safety of Fabio Graciano, other peasant farmers and members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó whom paramilitaries have threatened to kill.
I urge you to order full and impartial investigations into these death threats and the massive presence of paramilitaries, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice.
I remind you that civilians, including the San José de Apartadó Peace Community, have the right not to be drawn into the armed conflict.
I urge you to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary groups and break their links with the security forces, in line with stated government commitments and recommendations made by the UN and other intergovernmental organizations.
Thank you for your attention.
(your name)



Salutation: Dear President Santos/
Excmo. Sr. Presidente Santos
Señor Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República,
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-26, Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: +57 1 596 0631

Salutation: Dear Minister Pinzón/
Sr. Ministro Pinzón
Defence Minister
Señor Juan Carlos Pinzón
Ministerio de Defensa
Carrera 54, no.26-29
Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: +57 1 266 1003

And copies to:

Peace Community
Comunidad de Paz de
San José de Apartadó
AA 243 de Apartadó
Antioquia, Colombia

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
COLOMBIA (Repubblica di)
Via Giuseppe Pisanelli, 4 – 00196 Roma
Tel. 063612131/06364348/063202405 – Fax 063225798

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