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Colombia, 1/24/2016

Excmo. Sr. Juan Manuel Santos
President of the Republic of Colombia

Sr. Fiscal General Eduardo Montealegre
Attorney General of Colombia

Dear Sirs:

We are very concerned about threats to José Miltiades Sanchez, a member of Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE)-Valle del Cauca and other union leaders, including the President, Wilson Sáenz; the Treasurer, Julian Lozano, both from the Central Union of Workers – Valle (CUT –Valle); and the President of the Union of Street Vendors, Yimy Nuñez.

On the morning of December 10 2015 Wilson Saenz and José Sanchez Miltiades received cell phone text messages with explicit death threats that also included the name of Lozano Nuñez. On December 17 the headquarters of the CUT -Valle received an envelope containing a threatening leaflet with two bullets taped to the page and a funeral prayer for Sánchez, Lozano, Sáenz and Nuñez.  It had the date December 29 2015.

Since 2008, we have written more than 40 letters to officials in the Colombian government about assassinations and threats to MOVICE members in different chapters of the country. The most recent event concerned the assassination of Daniel Abrilin Casanare Department (cf our letter of  Dec 12).

We strongly urge that you

  • carry out an immediate, independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against the lives of  José Sanchez, Julian Lozano, Wilson Saenz and Yimy Nuñez, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
  • provide immediate protection measures by the National Protection Unit (NPU) to guarantee the life, physical and psychological integrity of all members of MOVICE in all its chapters, as well as of all union leaders;
  • ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.


Brian Stefan-Szittai     Christine Stonebraker Martinez