Harrassment of human rights defenders of Justice and Peace

This morning in Belén de Bajirá, the human rights defenders Milbia Díaz and Fabio Ariza were harassed by four members of the paramilitary structures in Belén de Bajirá.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The paramilitaries, wearing civilian clothing, followed the human rights defenders and two international accompaniers who were accompanying them in two places and took pictures of them. The tailing took place when they were carrying out logistics for the Interethnic Gathering promoted by the Movement of Victims of State Crimes, (Movimiento de Victimas de Crímenes de Estado) MOVICE; Communities Constructing Peace in the Territories (Comunidades Construyendo Paz en los Territorios) CONPAZ; and our Justice and Peace Commission.

Afterward, the paramilitaries continued following the defenders in pick-ups from Belén de Bajirá to Brisas de Curvaradó, where the paramilitaries are also based.
The tailing of the defenders was noticed by one of the bodyguards assigned by the National Protection Unit and by witnesses in Belén de Bajirá and Brisas de Curvaradó.
Yesterday, the companies that have a contract with the National Protection Unit underestimated the risk that the defenders run. For this reason, they refused to assign a team for the trip to the human rights defenders who would be participating in the Gathering.

We had previously denounced the meeting of paramilitaries in Belén de Bajirá investigating the protection procedures of the Curvaradó communities and accompaniers. In that same meeting, they decided to plan an attack against the lives of the land reclaimants.

The paramilitaries have increased their visible operations with rifles and pistols, sometimes wearing camouflage, among the hamlets in Llano Rico, Despensa Baja, and Pavarandó.

The paramilitares are carrying out these actions by investigating leaders of the land reclaimants.

The paradox is that these armed actions are being developed in Belén de Bajirá, in the midst of police presence, and in Brisas de Curvaradó, Pavarandó, Andalucía, and Llano Rico, also in the midst of military presence. In these population centers, materials for the processing of coca and cocaine are circulating. 

Bogotá, D.C., October 7, 2014

Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission