New killings in Buenaventura – city under the eyes of international investors. The International Community must react – The Colombian State must protect.

Brussels, July 21, 2015: On Sunday July 19, paramilitaries working under the commander known as “Mongo” from the “Gaitanistas” group murdered 15-year-old Christian Aragón. A child called Sol Ángel Mina who was wounded in the attack on Christian Aragón, died a few hours later.

The attack occurred some 500 metres from the humanitarian space, a peaceful community initiative to recover their traditional way of life amid the constant paramilitary presence. Paramilitaries tried to take Christian Aragón away by force, Christian objected and managed to escape, but just a few metres ahead, he was shot twice in the back and was killed.

The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission accompanies community initiatives, highlighted in a statement[1] that “the Aragón Valenzuela and Hernández Torres families and others, have stood up to the paramilitaries without weapons to prevent the recruitment of children”. They have also acted to prevent sexual violence against girls. These families “have done the authorities’ work without the support of state and government, but they continue to face persecution and state neglect”. The paramilitary “Mongo” has been reported to the public prosecutor for other crimes and there appears to be no progress in investigations.

During the first two weeks of June this year, a community leader from Buenaventura and Danilo Rueda of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission travelled to Geneva and Brussels to raise awareness on the serious situation for Buenaventura and its inhabitants. They spoke with the offices of UN special rapporteurs, members of the European Parliament, and officials from the European Union. They emphasised the high level of militarisation in the city, existing economic interests, the inaction of the Colombian State and cases of links between paramilitary groups and members of the security forces. In many of these meetings, the speakers expressed their political support for the initiative of the humanitarian space.

Today we hope that these officials will call upon the Colombian State to ensure a prompt and effective response so that those responsible for this murder are investigated and prosecuted. The State must take effective measures for the protection of the Aragón Valenzuela and Hernández Torres families and the Humanitarian Space which is besieged by the paramilitaries, as ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

There will be no peace in Colombia if the Colombian State does not demonstrate its willingness and ability to guarantee the population their rights; this is even more the case given that Buenaventura is a highly militarised city.

Oidhaco repudiates this crime and expresses its solidarity with the family and friends of Christian Aragón and Sol Ángel Mina. We call for these crimes not to go unpunished.