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Nov-24-2012 18:24printcomments

Colombia: Death Threats Against Human Rights Defender Martha Díaz

This chilling level of intimidation and threat is particularly revolting as these are family members of murder victims. Colombia has its work cut out...

Colombia Human Rights Defender Martha Díaz
Colombia Human Rights Defender Martha Díaz

(SALEM) - Colombia must take proactive steps to protect its population of human rights defenders.

A prominent activist named Martha Diaz recently had her life threatened and she is not the only one. These warnings of bodily harm and murder should be a top priority for law enforcement authorities here. Those being targeted are members of the Asociación de madres unidas por un solo dolor – AFUSODO (Association of Mothers United by a Single Sorrow).

Martha Díaz was at her home in Barranquilla on 14 November, around 6:00 a.m., when an unknown man approached her house on a powerful motorbike, telling her to “leave this place, don’t go looking for more problems; it’s not worth it. Don’t burn yourself even more.”

When she asked him why she had to leave, the man told her “they will come to visit you in the night” and left immediately after. The motorbike did not have license plates.

Another human rights defender and AFUSODO member Ms Yadira Pérez found a note under her door in Barranquilla, addressed to “the monkey”. Inside was a note warning her that “your time is coming, you’ve got to die”, together with a picture of a coffin, a crucifix and again the word “monkey”.

This chilling level of intimidation and threat is particularly revolting as these are family members of murder victims. Colombia has its work cut out...


S.E. Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República
Cra. 8 No.7-26
Palacio de Nariño
Bogotá
Colombia

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I am also a visiting fellow at Centre for Applied Human Rights in University of York, UK.

I came to know about the situation from Front Line – The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

On 14 November 2012, human rights defender Ms Martha Díaz received threats against her life in the latest of a series of recent death threats targeting members of the Asociación de madres unidas por un solo dolor – AFUSODO (Association of Mothers United by a Single Sorrow). Martha Díaz is Director and legal representative of AFUSODO, an organisation of relatives of victims of extrajudicial executions and a member organisation of the National Movement of the Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE).

On 14 November, around 6am, Martha Díaz was at her home in Barranquilla when an unknown man approached her house on a powerful motorbike. The man told her to “leave this place, don’t go looking for more problems; it’s not worth it. Don’t burn yourself even more.” When she asked him why she had to leave, the man told her “they will come to visit you in the night” and left immediately after. The motorbike did not have license plates.

On 30 October 2012, human rights defender and AFUSODO member Ms Yadira Pérez found a note that had been slid under the door of her home in Barranquilla. The envelope was addressed to “the monkey”. Inside was a note warning her that “your time is coming, you’ve got to die”, together with a picture of a coffin, a crucifix and again the word “monkey”. The following day, 31 October, the defender once again found a note slipped under her door. This time the note claimed that the authors would carry out their previous threat and mentioned that all they wanted was for the defender to leave her neighbourhood; otherwise, it said, “we will kill you and your whole generation. All your movements are being watched, we know you close your door at midnight.” Inside the note was another picture of a coffin with another text warning her to leave her house within a month, or the authors would kill her sons and two daughters. It further warned that if she called the police, they would certainly kill her grandchildren.

In a previous threat, on 22 October 2012, human rights defender and AFUSODO member, Ms Dulce María Rodríguez, was visited at her house in Barranquilla by two unknown individuals who insisted that she immediately leave her house, or she would be assassinated. In response, the defender has had to relocate.

In light of the allegation that those responsible for the threats may be connected to the armed forces, and given the substantial amount of serious threats recently received by non-governmental human rights organisations in Colombia, I am concerned for the security and physical and psychological integrity of the AFUSODO members.

I urge the authorities in Colombia to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the death threats against human rights defenders Martha Díaz, Yadira Pérez and Dulce María Rodríguez, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of the abovementioned human rights defenders;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Colombia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.


Sincerely
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
www.williamgomes.org

Donate to Support William's Human Rights Stories; donate through PayPal

Donate to: williamgomes.org@gmail.com

http://williamnicholasgomes.com/2012/11/20/colombia-death-threats-against-human-rights-defenders-martha-diaz/

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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