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Colombia: Defender at risk in COVID-19 quarantine

    Friday, May 1, 2020 - 08:46

    Jani Silva (right)  

    Photo via


    On 17 April, at around 2:30pm, Jani Silva heard 6 gunshots at less than 30 metres from her residence in Puerto Asís in Putumayo, southwestern Colombia. On 22 April, she again heard three gunshots at less than 50 meters from her residence and noise from the movement of people and a motorcycle around her house. 

    These two incidents occurred after a confidential source provided information to the Inter-Church Commission for Truth and Peace (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz) on 26 March about a plan to kill Jani Silva. Amnesty International urges the Ministry of Interior to provide appropriate protection to her.

    Jani Silva is a human rights defender active with the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazon Pearl (ADISPA). The Association advocates for peace and the environment in Putumayo.

    Please send an email or tweet to the Minister of Interior.

    • Start with Dear Minister Arango and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Share your worry about the safety of Putumayo human rights defender Jani Silva following the gunshot incidents on 17 and 22 April and the alleged death threat against her. 
    • Insist that Jani Silva is provided an armoured vehicle for her transportation, has access to a protected boat to ensure her transportation to and from the Peasant Reservation Area of the Amazon Pearl, and police protection of a standard she approves while she is at her home. 

    Send your email or tweet to (there is no postal service to Colombia during the pandemic)

    Sra. Alicia Arango Olmos
    Minister of Interior
    Carrera 8 No. 7 – 83
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia
    Twitter:    @AliciaArango 

    Please copy

    Sra. María Fernanda Forero Ramírez 
    Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Colombia 
    360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
    Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
    Fax:         613 230 4416
    Phone:     613 230 3760

    The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    111 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
    Postage:    None required
    Fax:         613 996 9607    
    Phone:        613 992 5234

    Daniel Andrés Palacios Martínez
    Director of the National Unit of Protection
    Carrera 63 # 14 – 97, Primer Piso 
    Puente Aranda
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia
    Twitter:    @UNPColombia 

    Additional information

    Jani Silva is an environmental, human rights and peace defender who has promoted the implementation of the Peace Agreement in the territory and has promoted reforestation initiatives. She has also denounced the socio-environmental effects of oil operations, including those of Amerisur. Amerisur is a hydrocarbon exploitation company operating mainly in Putumayo basins. The company has the following partners in its operations: ONGC Videsh Ltd (India), Canacol Energy Ltd. (Canada), Pluspetrol (Netherlands), Pacific Exploration & Production (Frontera Energy, Canada), Vetra (Colombia) and Occidental Petroleum (USA).

    Due to her role as a peace defender, armed groups have threatened to take her life in order to silence one of the strongest voices for social causes in Putumayo. Jani has also received threats for opposing an oil company in the area. She and her family members have been threatened with death if she continues to promote demonstrations for a healthy environment. The origin of the threats is unknown.

    Jani Silva is the legal representative of the Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral y Sostenible de la Perla Amazónica (ADISPA) which is a community organization aimed to protect the rights of the communities that live in the Peasant Reservation Area of the Amazon Pearl. 

    Since President Iván Duque declared a national quarantine on March 24, at least 14 people who defend human rights and social leaders have been killed, 3 of them while they complied with the quarantine in their homes. The incident of 22 April occurred during the lockdown ordered by the Colombian government to avoid the spread of the COVID-19, which in Puerto Asís starts at 6pm and ends at 5am.

    If you want Updates on this case, send your request to with “Keep me updated on Jani Silva” in the subject line.