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Rapid Response Network
RRN’s team of letter-writers responds to six urgent human rights cases each month to
- protect people living under threat
- demand investigations into human rights crimes
- bring human rights criminals to justice
- ensure that human rights crimes are not happening in the dark.
Save a life. Demand justice. Join the RRN!
January 25, 2020
As a survivor of the Bojayá Massacre in 2002, Leyner Palacios has become an outspoken social leader and, as a consequence, has suffered reprisals, including death threats. Since 2002, the communities of Bojayá have suffered serious human rights violations, including forced displacement and mass killings by paramilitary groups and the army. On December 31, 2019, the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace denounced that 300 members of the AGC arrived at the Bojayá communities of Pogue, Corazón de Jesús, Loma de Bojayá and Cuia, placed them under forced confinement, and threatened to kill them if they tried to resist. On January 3, 2020, they threatened Leyner Palacios, warning him to leave Bojayá or he would be killed.
January 24, 2020
Our Rapid Response Network sent a letter to President Ortega of Nicaragua regarding a recent attack on the son and nephew of women human rights defender Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios, who was granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in September of 2018. On January 5 in Ciudad Sandino, gunmen shot and wounded her son Álvaro Antonio Báez Rodríguez (age 33) and nephew Andison Francisco Chávez Rodríguez (age 27) during an attempt to kidnap them. Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios is an active member of MAM (Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua). Although MAM has historically been independent of any political party alignment, Reyna Rodríguez Palacios is active in the Blue and White National Unity Party and was recently elected to the party’s Political Council. She has experienced harassment at home. Police and paramilitary forces have been surrounding and surveilling her home. The surveillance activity and the attack against her son and nephew appear to be in retaliation for her political party activity in opposition to the Sandinista government.
January 21, 2020
Please see the attached letter (January 21, 2020) we sent to the President Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Honduras, urging his government to drop the four bogus criminal charges that are pending against labor leader Moises Sánchez. Tomorrow in court, Moises faces the possibility of 30 years in prison on charges related to the usurpation of private land to build a community access road.
January 12, 2020
We are disturbed to learn of continued attacks on freedom of the press in your country. On August 1, 2019, we wrote to you about smear campaigns, threats, and online harassment against three journalists who reported on the potential human rights impacts of your government’s “plan de control territorial,” which increases police and military presence in certain regions to combat criminal gang activity. We do not see the situation improving for journalists in El Salvador. Journalists have reported being excluded from presidential press conferences during your first six months in office. They have also reported at least one disabling cyberattack on a news website during that period. The newspaper El Diario de Hoy saw government advertising suspended after it covered one of these developments.
January 11, 2020
On December 29, the body of Efraín Martínez Martínez was found semi-buried in the department of Fransisco Morazán after having been reported missing a week prior. Efraín Martínez was a leader of the indigenous Tolupán community in Montaña La Flor. The Tolupán people are historically one of the most impoverished and isolated groups in Honduras. Just a few days later, on January 3 the tortured body of Santos Felipe Escobar García was found in El Carbón, Olancho Department. Family members had reported his disappearance on December 29, when he was apparently abducted. Santos Felipe Escobar was a leader of the indigenous Pech community of Santa María del Carbón.
December 26, 2019
We are appalled to learn of the current efforts to re-open operations at the Canadian-owned Escobal silver mine near San Rafael Las Flores in Santa Rosa Department. In July 2017, the Supreme Court suspended mine operations because of discrimination and failure to consult with the indigenous Xinka peoples. In February 2019, Pan American Silver of Vancouver, Canada, purchased the Escobal mine. They are endeavoring to fast-track reopening the mine without the court-ordered consultation or consent of the Xinka people. In October 2018, the Xinka Parliament expressed their willingness to collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) in the process of reviewing the area of Xinca rights. To date, MARN has not included the Xinca people in any phase of the planning process.
December 25, 2019
We are extremely concerned about the continuing threatsfrom the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the paramilitary Gaitanistas Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC). ELN and AGC armed groups operating in Bojayá, are causing at least 2,250 people to live under forced confinement and life-threatening risk. Hostile actions include deployed landmines in the few areas with telephone coverage, which is restricting communities’ access to healthcare, food, water, and communication.
December 24, 2019
We are dismayed to learn that Lisiania Zelaya, lawyer, artist and member of the Amorales Collectve, has been convicted of slander against Ricardo Mendoza and fined US$ 2,027. Since 2016, artists of Amorales have denounced Ricardo Mendoza, a professor at the School of Drama at UES, whom they accuse of abusing his female students during rehearsals of theater productions. Abusive actions, which have been condemned by present and former students, include his asking them to take off their clothes for him. On May 27, members of the Amorales Collective received subpoenas from the Sixth Sentencing Court of San Salvador accusing them of slander and damage to Mendoza’s honor and personal reputation. The conviction of Lisiania Zelaya highlights the struggle of women against systematic, institutionalized violence.
December 23, 2019
We are quite concerned about the safety of staff and members of the human rights organization dhColombia (Asociación Red de defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos). Since the beginning of November, members of dhColombia have been surveilled by unknown men outside their homes and office. Prior to this, in August a member of dhColombia faced communication espionage, theft of sensitive information, and death threats. dhColombia made a request on October 4 for protection measures from the National Protection Unit (UNP); to our knowledge, they have not received a response.
December 22, 2019
We are shocked at three assassinations that occurred during the national strike that started on November 21. December 2 - Two unidentified attackers killed Manuel Santos Yatacue as he walked with his partner near the Elvira reincorporation zone in Buenos Aires in Cauca Department. Elvira is one of 24 areas where former members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are based as they transition to civil society under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Manuel Santos Yatacue was a member of one of the local collectives establishing coffee production. Illegal armed groups, opposed to the peace process, are still vying for control over the illegal gold mining activities that continue there.