Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia
Sr. Fiscal General Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Attorney General of Colombia
July 1, 2019
We are horrified at the continued killings occurring at an increasing rate in Colombia. Recently, four former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) were murdered in one week. They are: Rafael Polindara, Anderson Pérez Osorio,Daniel Esterilla, and Servio Delio Cuasaluzan Guanga. Also murdered was Manuel Gregorio González Segura, a beneficiary of the National Comprehensive Plan to Replace Crops for illicit use (PNIS), the government’s program to replace coca plantations with legal crops.
On June 13 Rafael Polindara was killed while working outside his house in the zone of El Tambo in Cauca Department. A regional official reported that he was among the people who accepted the whole peace process and was in the process of reintegration into civilian society.
On June 17 Anderson Pérez Osorio was shot dead in Caloto in Cauca Department. He was working as a journalist for NC Noticias, a grassroots media platform established to document Colombia’s peace process. He was also a member of the agricultural trade union FENSUAGRO, which has seen at least five members killed in 2019 (cf our letters of Feb 1, Apr 23, Apr 24, June 25), the human rights organization PUPSOC (Popular Unity Process of Southwest Colombia) and ANZORC (National Association of Peasant Reserve Zones).He had previously received threats.
On June 17 Daniel Esterilla, age 61, was shot dead in Iscuande in Nariño Department as he left a meeting with authorities to discuss funding for the reintegration of FARC members. He had been working on developing sustainable agricultural projects to support former FARC members.
On June 24 unidentified assailants killed Servio Delio in Ricaurte municipality in Nariño Department. He was enrolled in a reintegration program. These killings add to the total of at least 134 FARC members murdered since the signing of the peace agreements in 2016. Thirty-four close family members have also been killed.
On June 26 Manuel Gregorio González Segura disappeared after leaving his farm on a horse to do some shopping. On June 27 at 5:30am community members found his body in Montelibano municipality in Córdoba Department. He had been shot several times, his hands were tied, and his body showed signs of torture. Some of his belongings were returned by a member of the “Gulf Clan,” a transnational drug trafficking cartel involved with the paramilitary group AGC (Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces). Manuel, a defender of land and peasant rights, was active with the ASCSUCOR (Association of Peasants of the South of Colombia) and the political movement Patriotic March.
These murders emphasize again the long list of impunity and government failures to comply with all the conditions of the Peace Agreement of 2016. We strongly urge that you
- conduct an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the murders described above, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice
- immediately implement effective actions which address the chronic security crisis affecting former FARC member who are endeavoring to transition to peaceful life.
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
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email