PBI-Colombia accompanies investigative journalist Claudia Julieta Duque at meeting with Swedish Embassy

Published by Brent Patterson on

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PBI-Colombia has posted: “In meeting with human rights defender journalist @JulieDuque1 and Rickard Lunnerdal @SwedeninCOL. We share concerns about security incidents due to surveillance and monitoring. PBI continues to accompany some court cases that are close to statute of limitations. #FightAgainstImpunity”

Duque then tweeted: “Many thanks to @PBIColombia for facilitating these spaces for advocacy and protection, and to all the diplomatic delegations and @ONUHumanRights for their permanent support in my case.”

The Swedish Embassy also tweeted: “Thanks @JulieDuque1 and @PBIColombia for the conversation! Guaranteeing justice and free work for journalists, without persecution and harassment, are the foundations of democracy. Supporting these shared values ​​will always be a priority. #TheStoryWeWriteTogether”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied Claudia Julieta Duque as a journalist and human rights defender since 2010, and from 2004 when she was an associate member of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR).

They have also explained:

“Among the topics of her investigative and journalistic work are forced disappearance, recruitment of minors by armed groups, the impact of impunity and the right to justice, and the infiltration of paramilitary groups within Government entities. She has investigated the 1999 murder of the renowned Colombian journalist and humourist Jaime Garzón, and the involvement in this crime of the then national intelligence entity, the Administrative Department of Security (DAS).”

Photo: 38-year-old Jaime Garzón was shot five times on August 13, 1999 as he drove his car to the Radionet station in Bogotá.

Duque was illegally followed, kidnapped and attacked, and she and her young daughter received death threats, in a campaign orchestrated by the DAS that began in 2001 after Duque published the results of her investigation of the role DAS played in the murder of Garzón.

Two weeks ago, in an article about allegations against former DAS agent Alba Luz Flórez Gélvez, Infobae reported:

“In November 2023, the Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Bogotá sentenced Ronald Harbey Rivera Rodríguez, a former member of the now-dissolved Administrative Department of Security (DAS), to 150 months [12.5 years] in prison. Rivera Rodríguez was found guilty of being a co-perpetrator of acts of psychological torture against journalist Claudia Julieta Duque Orrego between 2001 and 2004, when Duque was investigating the murder of comedian and journalist Jaime Garzón.”

Following this, the Committee to Protect Journalists highlighted: “Duque had been harassed and received anonymous death threats in the early 2000s following her reporting on the murder of Garzón, whom she alleged may have been killed by the DAS. In 2014, a Bogotá criminal court sentenced a former high-ranking intelligence official to 11 years in prison for carrying out a campaign of aggression and death threats against Duque.”

The Canadian-financed Hidroituango Dam

Duque has also reported on human rights violations related to EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) and the Hidroituango hydroelectric dam. PBI-Colombia adds: “Several established media channels cited the facts revealed by Duque’s investigations in their reporting on the Hidroituango case, which caused public outrage in 2019.”

EPM has twice benefitted from the support of the Government of Canada financing agency Export Development Canada (EDC). In 2016 and 2017, EDC provided EPM with financing totalling between 500 million and one billion dollars.

The province of Quebec pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has also provided financing for the dam.

To read more about Duque from PBI-Colombia, click here.

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