Colombia Solidarity Campaign
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Nizkor Int. Human Rights Team - Derechos Human Rights - Serpaj Europe Urgent Solidarity – 08 May02

ALL RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS PRESENT IN THE VIGIA DEL FUERTE AREA ASK FOR A SUSPENSION OF AERIAL MILITARY ACTIONS AND A TEMPORARY CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES.

Ref: Vigia del Fuerte and Bellavista. Request for suspension of military operations. Urges support for humanitarian crisis.

- Today, Tuesday the 7th of May, at 14:00 hours there was knowledge of a fly-over by a plane ‘Mirage’, which dropped nine (9) bombs on the area ofNapipi, Bojaya, in the Choco Department.

- Since Monday the 6th of May, at 14:00 hours the IV Army Brigade prohibited national and international news journalists from entering the zone of the recent events. According to the journalists, the FARC-EP would have communicated them to enter the zone in order to verify what is happening.

- The 6th of May, at 18:00 hours in Quibdo, the Life, Justice and Peace Commission, the Diocese of Quibdo, gave information to National and International Human Rights Organizations about the grave situations of insecurity in which the residents of Bellavista, Vigia del Fuerte, Napipi and Murindo live, owing to the military offense with aerial attacks.

- The indiscriminate aerial actions produced yesterday irreparable damages in the afro-colombian communities, which were forcibly displaced. In the case of Napipi, two afro-colombians were wounded, and the young MARIA UBERTINA MENA (21 years old) was killed, as a result of the aerial operations that have been carried out since past Saturday. In accordance with the reports the number of victims could be higher, as the official aerial attacks are indiscriminate against around 3,000 inhabitants of this zone.

- At the same time, it is feared that the air and river operations will extend their radius of action in the following days with the same methods and mechanisms over the basin towns of the rivers Jiguamiando, Truando, Salaqui and Cacarica, as in some of these towns has been heard fly-overs in the early morning hours since last Saturday.

- In Bellavista and Vigia del Fuerte, state humanitarian response has not arrived, in spite of official announcements expressed via news media indicating that there had, in fact, already been a response. Until the present, humanitarian aid of blankets, medicine and food has been carried out by the Colombian Red Cross and the Diocese of Quibdo.

- The past Saturday, May 5th of 2002, the Life, Justice and Peace Commission, of the Diocese of Quibdo, communicated that in Vigia del Fuerte state military actions were being carried out that impeded humanitarian proceedings and search actions for those possiblyassassinated and disappeared. Owing to intervention by the Air Force and the Navy, more victims from the civilian population have been predicted. This call and request was not looked into by the Colombian state.

- Since Sunday the 21st of April, the Diocese of Quibdo, and other entities of the catholic church and human rights organizations, gave reports of the military incursion inside of the paramilitary strategy at Vigia del Fuerte, after crossing over the Atrato river, in particular through the municipality of Riosucio, where military units developed astrict control over the circulation of goods and of fluvial transports ince the 20th of December, 1996.

- Since that Sunday in April until Wednesday, May 1st, paramilitaries extended their proceedings to Bellavista, with threats and intimidation,at the behest of a commander nicknamed ‘Camilo’. In spite of the repeatedly reiterated reports turned into government and state entities there was no reaction from the Public Forces against the behavior of this group of close to 200 camouflaged and heavily armed men.

- Wednesday, May 1st, battles developed that made possible military monopolization by FARC-EP in Vigia del Fuerte, while confrontations worsened in Bellavista.

- Thursday, May 2nd, between 8:00 and 10:00 hours local time there was maintained a confrontation between FARC-EP and paramilitaries. Out of that, at 10:15 local time came the explosion of a cylinder that affected the chapel-temple-where the town hid in refuge, provoking more than a hundred civilian casualties and dozens of injured.

- In spite of the request and the call by the Church Diocese to cease aerial and fluvial operations, and of the requests in the same vein raised to the national government by the international community, there continue to be military deployments and military proceedings, which not only create fear in the afro-colombian population and impede humanitarian aid, but which are resulting in serious and systematic human rights violations, and grave breaches of international humanitarian law on the part of the State in the intent of confronting the FARC-EP with illicit methods and objectives of war.

We ask of national and international human rights organizations, of humanitarian agencies, of solidarity groups, to exhort the Colombian State headed by the President of the Republic ANDRES PASTRANA ARANGO,Supreme Chief of Military Forces, to:

1. Suspend aerial, fluvial and terrestrial military operations that are taking place in the mid and lower Atrato that are going on with his knowledge

2. Temporarily declare a bilateral suspension of armed hostilities and a cease-fire in order to allow for humanitarian aid by the catholic church and human rights groups on behalf of the civilian population

3. To immediately give a response to the humanitarian crisis as provided for under Article 17 of Protocol II, Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Law 387 in respect to food, health and housing owed to the affected population via the Network of Social Solidarity, and to expediate with urgency a Humanitarian Order-in respect to institutional response of civilian character.

4. To authorize entrance of both national and international news media into the zone in order to collect testimonies and reports of what is going on

To the humanitarian agencies, solidarity groups and churches to support a humanitarian aid in coordination with the Life, Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Quibdo, in respect to humanitarian support required via medical and technical support, and of emergency goods to attend to the affected population.

Life, Justice and Peace Commission, Diocese of Quibdo Intercongregational Commission of Justice and Peace Colombia, May 7th, 2002 [Translated into English from its original Spanish version by EquipoNizkor on 08 May 02. Original Spanish version disseminated on 07May02]

ADDRESSES:

ANDRES PASTRANA ARANGO Presidente de la Republica, Presidencia de la Republica Carrera 8 n. 7-26 Palacio de Nariño, Santa Fe de Bogota Telefono. +57.1.5629300 ext. 3550 (571 ) 284 33 00 Fax (571) 286 74 34 - 286, 68 42 -284 21 86 Mailto: pastrana@presidencia.gov.co and rdh@presidencia.gov.co

ARMANDO ESTRADA VILLA Ministro del Interior Carrera 8 # 8-09 – Bogota Fax: 0057-1-286.80.25

GUSTAVO BELL Ministro de la Defensa, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional Avenida El Dorado con carrera 52 CAN Santa Fe de Bogota Tel-fax: +57.1.222.1874 E-mail de la Secretaria General: infprotocol@mindefensa.gov.co

EDGARDO JOSE MAYA VILLAZON Procuraduria General de la NacionCarrera 5 n. 15-80 Santa Fe de Bogota Tel-fax: +57.1.342.9723, +57.1.281.7531

LUIS CAMILO OSORIO Fiscal General de la Nacion Diagonal 22 B n. 52-01 Santa Fe de Bogota. Tel fax: +57.1.570.2022

EDUARDO CIFUENTES Defensoria del Pueblo Calle 55 n. 10-32 Santa Fe de Bogota Fax: +57.1.346.1225

GUSTAVO BELL Vicepresidente de la Republica Consejeria Presidencial de Derechos Humanos Calle 7 No 6-54 Piso 3 Santa Fe de Bogota, D. C.Telefax: +57.1.337.1351

LUIS ERNESTO GILIBERT Director General Policia Nacional Santafe de Bogota Fax: +57.1.428.7634 - +57.1.315.9527

GUILLERMO FERNANDEZ DE SOTO Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Fax: +57-1-341.6777

MINISTRO DE TRABAJO Fax: +57-1-285.7091

FERNANDO TAPIAS STAHELIN Comandante de las Fuerzas Militares Avenida el Dorado con Carrera 52 Santa Fe de Bogota Telefax. 57-1-2222935

JORGE MORA RANGEL Comandante del Ejercito Nacional Santafe de Bogota Fax: +57.1.221.9111

CAMILO GOMEZ Comisionado para la Paz Fax: +57.1.560.9946

Oficina en Colombia del Alto Comisionado de la ONU paralos Derechos Humanos Fax: +57.1.313.4050 Mailto: oacnudh@hchr.org.co

Presidente del Consejo de la Union Europea Ministro de Asuntos Extranjeros del Reino de España Josep Pique i Camps Plaza de la Provincia, 1 - 28071 MADRID Fax: (+ 34) 91 321 40 30 Director del Gabinete de la Presidencia, D. Carlos Aragones Mendiguchia, Complejo de la Moncloa – Madrid Fax : (+ 34).91.390.0356

Urgent Solidarity is edited and disseminated by Nizkor International Human Rights Team.

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