Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez
President of the Republic of Colombia email@example.com
Sr. Fiscal Francisco Barbosa Delgado
Attorney General of Colombia
June 15, 2022
We are writing in response to the violent attack against peasant rights leader Guillermo Pérez Rangel and the murders of social leaders Oscar Parada Torres and Danilo de Jesús Madrid. Since the Peace Agreement was signed in November 2006, 1,311 social leaders have been murdered, with at least 84 this year.
On May 20, peasant rights leader Guillermo Pérez Rangel was physically attacked by two unknown individuals who threatened him with death, insulted him, and beat him at a Transmilenio station (public transportation) in Bogotá. Guillermo Pérez Rangel is president of the Mesa de Derechos Humanos y Territorios del Cesar, executive director of the Asociación de Campesinos y Comunidades Sin Tierra del Cesar and a member of the Unión Nacional de Integración Rural (UNIR). Because of his work for the restitution of land to peasants dispossessed by paramilitarism and his outspokenness against large-scale mining extraction projects, he has received multiple threats. He has spent the past few months denouncing the assassination of his close colleague, human rights defender Teófilo Acuña (cf our letter 25 March 2022). Although he has been included in the National Protection Unit (UNP) program since 2016, the UNP did not respond after he reported being followed by unknown individuals to the Attorney General's Office on April 29. He has been displaced from his home since February 2020.
Danilo de Jesús Madrid López was murdered on June 8 in Antioquia Department. The 49-year-old vice-president of the Community Action Board of Doradas Altas Village (Tarazá municipality) was found dead on his farm in the morning, with gunshots to various parts of his body. The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman had reported (Early Warning 004/22) that civilian populations are at risk due to armed conflicts between the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces (AGC) and the 36th front of the dissidents of the extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP).
Also assassinated on June 8 was 55-year-old attorney and LGBT advocate Oscar Parada Torres, shot dead while walking in front of a church in the Bonanza neighborhood of Engativá, one of several districts of Bogotá. The father of five children had recently been appointed as a representative of the bisexual community to the Bogotá District LGBTIQ Consultative Council.
There must be an end to impunity for these attacks on social leaders. We therefore urge you to:
- conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the attack on Guillermo Pérez Rangel and killings of Danilo de Jesús Madrid López and Oscar Parada Torres, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
- take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security of Guillermo Pérez Rangel and his family, in constant consultation with them
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez
Juan Carlos Pinzón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via email, US mail
Daniel Palacios, Minister of the Interior ~ via email
Joel Hernández García, Rapporteur for Colombia , Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
Roberta Clarke, Rapporteur on the Rights of LGTBI Persons, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
UN: Juliette De Rivero, Representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ~ via email
US Embassy: Francisco Palmieri (Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim); Kristen Farrell (human rights); Mariel Chatman (vulnerable populations) ~ via email
US State Department: Christine Russell, Desk Officer for Colombia ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Brown, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email
09 JUN 2022_ContagioRadio and 26 MAY 2022_FrontlineDefenders_Colombia