Exmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Martínez, President of Colombia
Sr. Ministro Daniel Palacios Martínez, Minister of the Interior of Colombia
February 26, 2021
We are extremely disturbed about the verified report of an ongoing plan to kill or displace members of the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazonian Pearl (ADISPA). This organization, created in 2008 and formalized in 2011, protects the rights and the environment of 700 families (comprised of 1,700 men, women, and children) who live in the Amazonian Pearl Peasant Reserve Zone (ZRCPA) in Putumayo Department.
The Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace (CIJP) reports that, since the end of 2020, the armed group Comando de la Frontera (Border Command) has said that they will use all possible means to destroy the ZRCPA. During the first weeks of 2021, this armed group visited some of the communities of the ZRCPA to tell them that ADISPA should disappear, and no social organization that wants to work in the territory could do so if it disobeys the armed group’s guidelines.
These threats are the latest of many against ADISPA. During 2020, Jani Rita Silva, the legal representative of ADISPA, faced at least six security incidents, including the following:
Jan 16: two incidents this day: 1) around 12noon, a man on a motorcycle surveilled her home for at least ten minutes; 2) around 2pm, unknown people arrived at her workplace to observe her
Mar 26: CIJP informed Jani Rita Silva about an ongoing plan to kill her (cf our letter of May 26 2020).
Apr 17: she heard 6 gunshots, less than 30 meters from her home (cf our letter of May 26).
Apr 22: she heard three gunshots less than 50 meters from her home and noises from the movement of people and a motorcycle around her house (cf our letter of July 23 2020).
May 1: several media and human rights organizations denounced the military surveillance of more than 130 people, including journalists, politicians, and human rights defenders, including Jani Rita Silva
Dec 4: the Comando de la Frontera circulated a pamphlet stigmatizing ADISPA members
ADISPA is doing critical work in defense of the environment in Putumayo by promoting reforestation initiatives and denouncing the socio-environmental effects of oil extraction operations. Because of these ongoing threats, we strongly urge you to grant members of ADISPA protection measures, in consultation and in agreement with them.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez, Co-Coordinators