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Colombia, 10/21/2022


Excmo. Sr. Presidente Gustavo Petro Urrego

President of the Republic of Colombia

Sr. Fiscal Francisco Barbosa Delgado

Attorney General of Colombia 


October 21, 2022


Dear Sirs:

On Saturday, October 16, journalist Rafael Emiro Moreno Garavito was fatally shot by two motorcyclists in Montelíbano, Córdoba Department. The investigative reporter was also a respected social leader in his community in Puerto Libertador municipality, Córdoba. At the time of his assassination, he was carrying out several investigations related to criminal and disciplinary complaints by his neighbors.

Rafael Moreno worked for the independent news outlet Voces de Córdoba. For several years he had received threats because of his investigative reporting. We are writing because it is imperative for Colombian authorities to thoroughly investigate his killing, determine if he was targeted for his work, and hold accountable those responsible.

Several years ago, the government’s National Protection Unit (UNP) had assigned a bodyguard to protect Rafael Moreno, gave him a protective vest, and gave an early-warning panic button. It is unclear to us whether the protection measures were still in place. It was reported by one source that Rafael Moreno was working at his restaurant on October 16 and told a bodyguard that he could take the rest of the day off. Indepaz (Institute for the Studies of Development and Peace), however, has stated that the UNP withdrew the security mechanism for the journalist a few months ago.

So far this year, seven journalists in Córdoba have received threats. Six of the cases were registered in Montelíbano. Because of our concern for the safety of journalists in Códoba, we strongly urge that you:

  • conduct a transparent investigation into the assassination of Rafael Emiro Moreno Garavito, determine whether the motive was connected to his professional journalism, find both the intellectual and material authors of the killing, and bring those responsible to justice
  • provide protection for the team of journalists at Voces de Córdoba, under agreed upon conditions
  • clarify whether the UNP’s security mechanism had been in place on October 16 and, if not, provide the reasons why not
  • ensure that journalists throughout Colombia are able to carry out their legitimate work activities without fear of reprisal


Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez




Luis Gilberto Murillo, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via email, US mail

Joel Hernández García, Rapporteur for Colombia ,  Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ~ via email, US mail

Pedro José Vaca Villarreal, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (IACHR) ~ via email, US mail

UN: Juliette De Rivero, Representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ~ via email

FLIP: Fundación para la Libertad de la Prensa ~ via email

Natalie Southwick, CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists ~ 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

19 OCT 2022_Committee to Protect Journalists_Colombia