United Nations Denounces Increase in Threats

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 14 March 2008

The Colombia Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed "profound preoccupation" at the increase in death threats and killings aimed at human rights defenders and other civil society leaders in the aftermath of the national day to commemorate victims of state violence that was held on March 6th in Colombia and around the world.

According to a statement released by the UN on March 13th several community leaders, trade unionists, peace activists and human rights defenders have been targeted. Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner has repeatedly expressed her support for the "dedication and bravery of Colombian human rights defenders" and has called for their lives to be protected.

The UN statement specifically mentions the attempt on the life of human rights activist Luz Adriana Gonzalez who was involved in promoting the March 6th events in the city of Pereira (see http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/185/), and the murders of Edgar Jose Molina (a peace activist) on February 23rd in Huila department, Manuel Jose Reina Collazos (a political activist) on February 25th in Valle department, union leader Leonidas Gomez Rozo (see http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/184/) on March 5th in Bogota, and union leader Carlos Burbano (see http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/199/) on March 11th in Caqueta department.

The UN statement ended by calling on the Colombian authorities to provide effective protection for civil society activists involved in the defence of human rights and asked that the Attorney General open investigations into the most recent abuses.

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