PBI-Colombia accompanied CREDHOS calls for “the protection and guarantee of the rights to life, to the integrity and security of its members”

Published by Brent Patterson on

On October 31, CREDHOS tweeted:

“#Threats to #Credhos The board of directors of the corporation demands that the #civilian, #police, and military #authorities guarantee the #life of the #Inhabitants of #MagdalenaMedio…

To the control and administration of justice agencies to investigate and find the intellectual and material authors of the #homicides and #threats that occurred during 2022.

To the prosecutor’s office to investigate the alleged relationships of civilian third parties, mayors, military, police and companies with #paramilitary groups. We call on the National Government, to set their sights on #Barrancabermeja and the #MagdalenaMedio for a #HumanitarianAgreement and the construction of #TotalPeace.”

CREDHOS urgent action

The 16-page urgent action from CREDHOS “requests the protection and guarantee of the rights to life, to the integrity and security of its members, who have been victims of threats, stigmatization, harassment, attacks and forced displacement for our defense work.”

Agencia Prensa Rural reports:

“This statement and complaint is presented after a video was released in the region on October 26 in which heavily armed men, who identified themselves as members of the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces, pointed to members of the police and public officials as part of a supposed agreement with this illegal armed structure, which they would have breached, therefore they threaten to execute a pistol plan against members of the police, the mayor of Barrancabermeja, the Yondó inspector and leaders of ASOCOMUNALES.

The following day a new video was circulated on social networks in which another group calling itself ‘criminal gangs of Barrancabermeja’, displaying automatic weapons and in a threatening tone, responded to the previous one and directly pointed to CREDHOS as allies of the armed group, stigmatizing its members and threatening human rights defenders declaring them ‘military targets’.”

Attack on Yuli Velasquez

Among the instances of threats and attacks in the CREDHOS urgent action: “JULY 07, 2022: URGENT ACTION FOR LIFE, INTEGRITY, SECURITY AND PERMANENCE IN THE TERRITORY OF YULY VELASQUEZ SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER OF FEDEPESAN.”

The armed attack against Velasquez and National Protection Unit escort on July 5 came just days after CREDHOS, PBI-Colombia and PBI-Canada were shown on June 30 the sources of pollution impacting the San Silvestre wetland in Barrancabermeja.

Call to the international community

The urgent action concludes: “TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: We ask the Multilateral Human Rights Organizations (Inter-American Human Rights System and the UN) to help by requesting to the Colombian State guarantees for the protection of life, integrity, and security of the human rights defenders of CREDHOS. Likewise, assistance is requested in this regard from international accompaniment organizations.”

At this time, we recall that the Canadian Embassy in Colombia has tweeted: “In #Barrancabermeja , we met with @PBIColombia, @CAHUCOPANA, @Credhos_Paz and Fedepesan to talk about the difficult security situation in #MagdalenaMedio. We must protect the leaders and guarantee free and safe movement in the territories.”

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) since 1994.

Upcoming: Join Juan Camilo Delgado from CREDHOS on this webinar Learn about the threats to the San Silvestre wetlands and its protectors, December 4.

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