31 May 2013
COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Update on threats against the OFP
On 20 February 2013 CPT issued an urgent action in support of Women’s Popular Organization (OFP) leader Gloria Amparo Suarez. On 11 February 2013, a man came to the OFP office and made threats against Suarez and her two sons. Showing Suarez pictures of her sons, he told her that if the OFP didn’t stop causing a commotion at a national level they would kill her. (See original Urgent Action.)
|Gloria Amparo Suarez
(photo courtesy OFP)
In a recent conversation with Gloria, she informed CPT Colombia that for security reasons she had decided to send her sons out of the country for an undetermined period of time. Through contacts they were able to receive scholarships to study in Europe. “This is one of the most difficult things my husband and I have endured. We have never been separated from our boys like this. However, it was necessary because the threat was so strong.”
As a recognized community leader, the Colombian government has provided Suarez with a vehicle and body guards but this is only for her protection. There has been no protection provided for her family or for other members in the OFP. She also noted that although the government is supposed to pay for the fuel and other costs related to the use of the vehicle they have not provided the funds. This means a great financial burden on the organization, just to maintain such security measures. Gloria has requested that letters continue to be sent to the Colombian government as the investigation into the threats has not shown any progress in identifying the perpetrators.
CPT would like to thank all of you who have sent letters to the Colombian authorities and letters of support to Gloria and the OFP. Your continued support is needed.
|Other breaking news
Tito, a member of the Las
Pavas farmers community
written about in Hannah
Redekop’s 29 May Open
letter to the Prime Minister
of Canada, was attacked
by employees of the
Aportes San Isidro oil palm
company on 30 May. His
injuries included machete
blows. Tito was hospitalized
and in stable condition
on the day of the attack.
Please send an email to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon via the Colombian Embassy or Consulate in your country or region:
Canada – send the letter via
Mr. César Felipe González Hernández, Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of Colombia
360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
United States – send the letter via
Ms. Claudia Cuevas, Second Secretary, Human Rights and Minorities
Embassy of Colombia
2118 Leroy Place, NW
FAX: 202-232-8643 ext. 266
Other countries – See https://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/node/3606
for physical and email addresses of the nearest consulate or embassy.
Start with Dear President Santos / Estimado Sr. Presidente.
- Describe briefly who you are or where you are writing from.
- Express great concern for the safety of Gloria Amparo Suárez and her children, Yolanda Becerra, and other members of OFP after the threats against them.
- Ask President Santos to arrange for the kinds of protection they request.
- Urge him to order a full and impartial investigation into the threats, to publish the results and to bring those responsible to justice.
- Please note that Colombia has free trade agreements with the United States, Canada, the European Union Free Trade Association, the European Union and South Korea. Citizens of these countries or blocks are encouraged to mention the expectation that in light of this relationship, any such threat against human rights defenders will be treated as a matter of the highest priority.Ask for a reply to let you know what steps have been taken.
Please forward a copy of your letters to the Women’s Popular Organization (OFP) (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to CPT Colombia (email@example.com).