PBI-Canada concerned by threats against CREDHOS, FEDEPESAN and ACVC in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Still from Enlace Noticias news report.

From Canada we express our concern that the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS), the Federation of Santander Fishers for Tourism and Environment (FEDEPESAN), the Small-Scale Farmer Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), and other social organizations have been threatened.

Peace Brigades International accompanies CREDHOS and the ACVC and has a close relationship with FEDEPESAN.

Tweet: “Faced with persistent threats affecting the defense of #HumanRights and #Peace in Magdalena Medio, @Credhos_Paz and other social organizations request the creation of a “regional table of guarantees”.

On February 3, Vanguardia reported: “Five pamphlets, allegedly from illegal armed groups, that circulated during the month of January in Barrancabermeja, have generated alarm and fear among human rights organizations. In two of them, threats have been made against leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations that carry out their work in defense of life and territory in the oil port.”

That article continues: “In the most recent case, a pamphlet allegedly authored by the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces was circulated, declaring seven social organizations military targets, including Credhos, Fedepesan, the ACVC, the Human Rights Workers’ Space, the OFP [Organización Feminina Popular], among others. In addition, death threats have been made against five social leaders.”

CREDHOS president Ivan Madero says: “This is worrisome, in the month of January five pamphlets have appeared, one from the Magdalena Medio Bloc of the FARC [the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] declaring several leaders persona non grata, including the undersigned; There are also other pamphlets that were not known in the city and finally there is a video of the new Marquetalia of which we had no information that they were present in the region or in Barrancabermeja and on February 1, a pamphlet from the AGC appears where they threaten human rights and environmental organizations. in addition to several environmental leaders who are mentioned by name.”

Madero adds: “Here there is a presence of the national armed structures that are part of the armed conflict: the AGC, the Central General Staff, the ELN and today with the video that appeared, the New Marquetalia.”

Photo: PBI with Ivan Madero of CREDHOS.

FEDEPESAN president Yuli Velasquez additionally notes: “There are really no guarantees, neither for the population nor for us who are defenders of the environment and human rights, we are urgently asking the authorities to take actions that allow the leaders to continue working, we need guarantees to do our work; Because it’s not the fact that we have to go out of fear. A serious investigation has to be generated.”

Velasquez adds: “We feel vulnerable, in the early hours of [February 2] we have been receiving intimidation from a number that pretends to be the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, this same number has registered the telephone number of the other comrades who are dedicated to the protection of the swamps, water, the environment and rights and the tranquility not only of us, but also of our families.”

Photo: PBI with Yuli Velasquez of FEDEPESAN.

We continue to follow this situation closely.

Further reading: Guarantees for life and the defense of human rights in Magdalena Medio (February 2, 2024).