Harassments and threats against a member of the Commission of Justice and Peace

Today in the morning in Bogota D.C. the human rights defender Alberto Franco was follow[ed by two persons that were moving on a motorcycle.

Bogotá D.C. 16th of October, 2013

Franco’s escort service observed the pursuit and was therefore forced to change his route.

The priest Alberto Franco, executive secretary of our Commission for Justice and Peace was followed several times the first part of the year and his car even got shot at in one occasion.

As a second incident of today, the human rights defender Danilo Prado, who represents the name of our Commission, the victims of Yarumal caused by paramilitary operation under the command of Santiago Uribe, brother of former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, was due to a court order interrogated by a lawyer of the national defense because of alleged fraud.

According to the daily newspaper EL Espectador, the witnesses Carlos Meneses and Eunicio Pineda Luján would plan a manipulation of the human rights defensors of our organization.

The advertising strategy of Santiago Uribe’s defense hides the procedural value of the testimonies and the assessment of these should be executed by the investigating authorities, who ignore the duty to protect the rule of law and members of human rights organizations that denounce criminal structures in the country.

Today, the former municipal councilor Darío Blandón, declared a prestigious international human rights organization and our Comission for Justice and Peace responsible for the murder that occur against members of the Community Council Caño Manso that reclaimed land from which they were violently displaced during the 90s by large scale cattle ranchers and palm cultivators.

Darío Blandón is a congressional candidate for the Democratical Center (Centro Democrático) which is headed by Álvaro Uribe Vélez and has favored illegal business and paramilitary operations, including those of SOR TERESA GÓMEZ.
Weeks earlier, other human rights defenders in were also targeted by direct intimidations in the street of Bogotá with threatening massages meant for all members of our Commission, including Manuel Garzón and Danilo Rueda.

Despite the serious incidents and eventual assassination attempts against the life and integrity of members of the Commission, the demanded protection measures were not implemented by the National Protection Unity ( Unidad Nacional Protección)

If the procedural and extra-procedural guaranties for the free mobility of the human rights defenders as well as the safeguarding of judicial evidence do not exist, hardly any judicial processes, especially such delicate ones as those of the violent dispossession on the part of Palm entrepreneurs and cattle ranchers which imply armed paramilitary forces supported by families that have absorbed the power of the government, will be resolved and there will be no truth, nor justice, nor reparation.

Bogotá D.C. 16th of October, 2013

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz