Demand safety for those who are protecting the human rights of others • Exige seguridad para quienes están protegiendo los derechos humanos de otras personas.
Señor Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia
Dear President Santos:
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern for the members of MOVICE, the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MovimientoNacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado, MOVICE), a coalition of more than 200 non-governmental human rights and social organizations in Colombia. Since its creation in 2004, MOVICE has made vital contributions in campaigning against impunity and upholding the right to truth, justice and reparation for victims of gross human rights violations committed by the security forces and their paramilitary allies during Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict.
Unfortunately, the work of MOVICE is not recognized by the authorities as legitimate and important human rights work, and members have been subjected to persistent threats in an effort to protect those responsible for human rights abuses. At least eight members have been killed and countless members have been targeted including Ingrid Vergara, who continues to suffer intimidation due to the high paramilitary presence at her job in the department of Sucre.
Thus, we call on you for immediate, thorough and effective investigations into the killings, threats and acts of harassment against members of MOVICE, and for all those responsible to be brought to justice promptly. We also urge you to take effective measures to protect Ingrid Vergara and other members of MOVICE in strict accordance with their wishes. We would also like to remind you of your obligation – set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders – to recognize the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders and defenders’ right to carry out their activities without obstacles or fear of reprisals.
About The Petition:
We demand the immediate, thorough and effective investigations into the killings, threats and acts of harassment against members of MOVICE, and for all those responsible to be brought to justice promptly. In particular, we are asking for direct protection of Ingrid Vergara, leader of MOVICE in Sucre, who has been subject to significant obstacles of fear throughout her work.
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