Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia
Sr. Fiscal General Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Attorney General of Colombia
May 11, 2019
We are very disturbed by death threats against the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu (Force of Wayuu Women) inLa Guajira Department.
On April 20, two defamatory and threatening pamphlets about Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu were posted on a fake Facebook profile named "Pedro Lastra.” One pamphlet targeted Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu exclusively. It threatened the lives of its director, Jakeline Romero,and five of its members: Karmen Ramírez, Miguel Ramirez, Deris Paz, Luis Misael Socarras and Dulcy Cotes. The other pamphlet mentioned other local movements such as the Wayuu Nation Movement, the Wayuu Araurayu Organization and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia. The pamphlets included the symbol of “Águilas Negras - Bloque Capital D.C.,” a paramilitary group active since 2006, that issues threats and promotes attacks against human rights defenders, social leaders, and journalists defending land and environmental rights.
Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu was created in 2006 to make visible and to denounce violations of the rights of the Wayúu indigenous people, such as the forced displacement by mining mega-project companies, the vulnerability of the victims of the armed conflict, the presence of armed groups, and the militarization of the Guajira territory. Wayuu women have organized in defense of their land, environment, and the right to self-determination, drawing attention to the disproportionate effects that conflict and displacement have on indigenous women.
Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu has been constantly threatened since their beginning (cf our Oct 24, 2018 letter). In 2016 Jakeline Romero was threatened with enforced disappearance and also received threats of sexual violence against her daughters. Protection measures afforded by the National Protection Unit have not been sufficient to ensure the integral protection of the human rights defenders.
We strongly urge that you
- strongly condemn the online attacks, intimidation and threats against Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, which we believe are motivated by their legitimate human rights work;
- carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the online attacks, intimidation and threats against Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
- strengthen the efforts to guarantee the physical and psychological safety and security of members of Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu and their family members, as well as all Wayuu indigenous persons, in consultation with them.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
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, US mail
Antonia Urrejola, Rapporteuron the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
Margarette May Macaulay, Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
US Senators Brown & Portman ~via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email