04/18/2019

Urgent Action: Thousands in Need of Urgent Protection (Colombia: UA 52.19)


7,000 persons from Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in Bojayá, Chocó (western Colombia) face live-threathening and forced displacement risk as the guerrilla National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) and the paramilitary group Gaitanistas Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia) are increasing hostilities in their territory. The communities of Unión Baquiaza, Union Cuití, Carrillo, Playita, Mesopotamia and Egoróquera are at risk. In Chocó several assassinations of community leaders recently occurred, and communities are constantly under threats from armed groups without any preventive action from national authorities.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 52.19. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
President of the Republic of Colombia Mr Iván Duque
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-26
Bogotá, Colombia
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @IvanDuque
Ambassador Francisco Santos
Embassy of Colombia
1724 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 387 8338
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ColombiaEmbUSA
Facebook: @ColombiaEmbassyUS
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear President Duque,

I am writing to express my alarm and concern for the situation of 7,000 people from the indigenous and Afro-descendant communities of Unión Baquiaza, Egoróquera, Union Cuití, Playita, Mesopotamia and Carrillo who are amid hostilities of armed groups operating in Bojayá, Chocó. Their situation is extremely serious and immediate action must be taken before conditions lead to mass killing or forced displacement.

Most of these people were already in confinement for more than a year, trying to escape the consequences of the operations of the National Liberation Army and the Gaitanistas Self-Defense Forces. For the past year, they have been placing anti-personnel mines, recruiting children, murdering social leaders and besieging entire communities. On some occasions communities have denounced the collusion of one of the armed groups with elements of the Colombian army.

The environment of exclusion, neglect and invisibility of this territory, created by the Colombian state, reinforces these communities’ vulnerable state without there having been a comprehensive institutional response beyond a merely military response.

I urge you to immediately deploy a comprehensive protection plan for the people at risk in these communities considering their guidance, approval and participation; and to investigate and bring to justice any illegal activity by armed groups affecting the rights of these communities. I also call on you to implement the measures of justice, reparation and guarantees to prevent human rights violations against these communities.

Yours sincerely,

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