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Colombia, 1/26/2015

Sr. Juan Manuel Santos
President of the Republic of Colombia

Sr. Eduardo Montealegre
Attorney General of Colombia

Sr. Oscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo
Minister for Post-conflict, Human Rights and Security

Dear Sirs:

We are extremely concerned about the death of Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo a member of the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) and the Never Again Project of Colombia. On January 21 at approximately 9:00am his body, having been shot in the head, was discovered by members of the judicial police in an uninhabited area known as “las marraneras” in San Bartolomé of Gachancipá Municipality in Cundinamarca Department.

Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo was last seen at approximately 3:00pm on January 19 when he left his residence in Bogotá to attend a meeting as Regional Coordinator of the Central-Eastern Regional Association of the Political Movement of Social and Popular Masses of Colombia. He had no known links to the municipality about 60km from Bogotá where his body was found. According to sources, he was carrying only his mobile phone and personal agenda. Neither item was found on his body.

Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo investigated crimes against humanity allegedly committed by state agents. He accompanied victims of such violations and was involved in the “Permanent campaign against police brutality, for the guarantee of human rights and the disbandment of the Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron (ESMAD).” He was also a member of the Peoples' Congress, a social and political movement that opposes the effects of economic policies and practices, such as large-scale mining operations with military backing that lead to displacement, confiscation of land, environmental degradation and destruction of communities. The Peoples' Congress is a member organization of the National Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic, and Peoples’ Summit.

We believe the killing of Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo is a direct result of his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities, in particular combating impunity for human rights violations committed by state agents. His assassination comes in the context of long-term targeting of members of MOVICE throughout Colombia, which we have been highlighting in our letters to you since 2008. Because we believe that failure to adequately and publicly investigate this case and hold perpetrators to account could further ingrain impunity in the country and have an alarming effect on other human rights defenders, we strongly urge that you

  • carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice, in accordance with international standards;
  • take all necessary measures to guarantee the security of members of MOVICE, including  reinforcing existing protection measures;
  • guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.


Brian J. Stefan Szittai      Christine Stonebraker-Martinez