Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia
Sr. Fiscal General Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Attorney General of Colombia
We are very disturbed by the assassination of labor organizer Dilio Corpus Guetio, age 44, a member of the Mountain Area Association of Campesino Workers (Asocordillera), which is an affiliate of the National Federation of Agricultural Unions (FENSUAGRO). He was assassinated on January 29 at about 6am after leaving for work from his home in Suárez in Cauca Department. Armed men in a van hit him, causing injury that made him lose control of his bicycle. They left their car and shot him several times, resulting in his death.
Dilio worked at coordinating peasant farming communities. He was also a member of the local volunteer Campesino Guard, which oversees security and organizing for rural communities.
His killing is the third assassination of agricultural trade union members in Cauca Department in just two months: Gilberto Antonio Zuluago Ramírez on December 9 (cf our letter of December 22, 2018), Wilmer Antonio Miranda on January 4 (cf our letter of January 12), and now Dilio Corpus Guetio on January 29. The Institute for Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz) reports that 17 social leaders were killed within the first month of this year (cf our letter of January 26).
We believe the continuing murder of community and union leaders is systematic. We strongly urge you to:
- investigate thoroughly and impartially the murder of Dilio Corpus Guetio, publish the results, and bring the assailants to justice
- take swift action to implement the “Action Plan for the Protection of Social and Community Leaders, Human Rights Defenders, and Journalists” (which President Duque signed in November 2018)
- 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.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez
Francisco Santos Calderón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via fax: 202.232.8643 and email
Rebecca Daley, Human Rights Officer, US Embassy in Colombia ~ via email
Ryan Reid and Christine Russell, Desk Officers for Colombia, US State Dept ~ via email
Francisco José Eguiguren Praeli, Rapporteur for Colombia and Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Soledad García Muñoz, Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email