On the morning of Tuesday 7 July we became aware of a plan to murder the legal representative of the Community Council of the River Naya community, Rodrigo Castillo Rodallega.
Someone will have paid a huge sum of money (US$ 10 mllion) for the assassination of the Defender of Human Rights and board member of CONPAZ (Community Network for Building Peace in the Territories).
The threat took place in the context of pressure which has been exerted on the directors of the Community Council because of their opposition to foreign income and investments from Brazil which want to bring in bulldozers for mining in the area.
The military pressure to sustain this position increased after the Council of State ruled in favour of the ‘Afronayeros’ (1) in the attempts by the University of Cauca to nullify their claims to their collective ancestral territory where the ´Nayeros´ had lived for 335 years.
During the last three months, Rodrigo, together with other members of CONPAZ, have been developing educational processes working towards peace and environmental-social justice.
A few weeks ago, we heard about a similar payment to assassinate the community leader and mayoral candidate for Lopez de Micay, Manuel Garces. Paramilitaries are still looking for him to fulfill that objective.
The leaders are supposed to be protected by the precautionary measures of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, however, for the last six months, it has not been possible for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Colombian to schedule a follow up meeting. Even the threats and risks faced by the leaders haven’t generated any responses from the government to guarantee the lives and integrity of the afro-Colombians of the River Naya area.
‘Afronayeros’ – Afro-Colombians living in the River Nayo area.
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz