Possible Disappearance of Peasant Leader in Colombia
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Possible Disappearance of Peasant Leader in Colombia

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John Ahni Schertow
February 2, 2008
 

Teresa Martínez recently posted an urgent notice on her blog, explaining that on January 16, four armed men dressed in civilian clothes arrived at the farm of Armando Montañez in the small village called Monterralo. After being spotted by Armando and two neighbors, the men opened fire repeatedly.

Armando and his two companions fled as soon as the shooting started. They have not been seen since and their forced disappearance is feared.

Here is the Urgent notice in English, followed by some email address you can write to. If you’d like a Spanish version, please see here.

URGENT ACTION: POSSIBLE FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF PEASANT LEADER IN EASTERN FOOTHILLS (CASANARE)
Corporación Social Para la Asesoría y Capacitación Comunitaria COS-PACC (Social Corporation for Community Advice and Capacity Building), Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos FCSPP (Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee) and the Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia REDHER (European Friendship and Solidarity Network) denounce:

BACKGROUND
The campesino small farmers living in the Casanare foothills have since the ‘democratic security’ policy of 2002 been the victims of a policy of stigmatization and subject to all types of abuse and cruel and inhuman treatment such as: forced disappearances; assassinations; torture; death threats; arbitrary and illegal detention to harm their reputation and good name; as well as forced displacements. These actions have affected the entire local population.

LATEST EVENTS
According to reports from inhabitants of the town of Aguazul in Casanare; at 10 am on 16 January four hooded men dressed in civilian clothes arrived at the farm of Armando Montañez in the small village called Monterralo. They were apparently paramilitaries, and tried to assassinate him.

Armando Montañez was arriving home after having left in the early hours to tend his cattle. On nearing the house, he and two neighbours spotted the four hooded, suspicious men, the assailants opened fire on them repeatedly.

Armando Montañez and his two companions fled as soon as the shooting started. As of this time their whereabouts is not known and their forced disappearance is feared.

DEMANDS
– That all actions are taken to return Armando Montañez and his two companions alive, that they might stay on and continuing working their land.

– That the national Attorney General (Fiscalia General de la nación) launches a criminal investigation to clarify the facts, locate the individuals responsible and judge them according to due legal process.

– We ask the national and departmental governments to URGENTLY take the necessary measures to protect and safeguard the life and personal integrity of Armando Montañez and his family members, and neighbours who witnessed this crime.

– that the state security bodies fulfil their duty to protect the life, honour and belongings of the campesionos in the region and that they pursue and punís the paramilitaries that continue to operate in Casanare department.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Send above to / Envie mensaje a:

Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Presidente de la Republica
(via the Colombian Embassy in your country. In the UK Colombian Embassy in mail@colombianembassy.co.uk )

Francisco Santos.
Vicepresidente de Colombia
E-mail: fsantos@presidencia.gov.co
E- mail: cap@procuraduria.gov.co

Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz
Defensor del Pueblo
E-mail: bogota@defensoria.org.co
Fax: 57 1 6400491, (0*1) 3147300 – Ext: 2112 / 2337

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los derechos humanos.
E-mail: oacnudh@hcrh.org.co
Fax: 57 1 6293637

CARLOS FRANCO
PROGRAMA PRESIDENCIAL DE DERECHOS HUMANOS Y DE DERECHO INTERNACIONAL HUMANITARIO.
Calle 7 N° 5 – 54 Bogotá D.C.
Fax. 337 46 67

EDGARDO JOSE MAYA VILLAZÒN
Procurador General de la Nación
Cra. 5 No.15 – 80F Bogotá D.C.

NACIONES UNIDAS PARA LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS
Representante de la oficina del alto comisionado para los derechos humanos en Colombia.
Juan Pablo Cortazolli.
Calle 114 Nº 9-45, Torre B, of. 1101, Teleport

OFICINA DEL ALTO COMISIONADO DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS PARA LOS REFUGIADOS
– ACNUR
Honorable señor Francisco Galindo Vélez
Representante
Calle 114 Nº 9-01, Torre A, of. 601 Bogotá, D. C.

COMITÉ INTERNACIONAL DE LA CRUZ ROJA – CICR
Honorable señor Juan Pedro Schaerer
Jefe
Calle 76 Nº 10-02 Bogotá, D. C.
Teléfono PBX: 3138630

Amnistía Internacional
E-mail: amnestyis@amnesty.org

Colombia 18 January 2008
[Colombia Solidarity Campaign adds, Casanare is the department where BP’s oil fields are located, and is heavily patrolled by armed forces. See COS-PACC’s report ‘Casanare and BP: A history that has to change’ in Frontline Latin America No 6]

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