Colombia: Human rights defender at risk
Photo via youtube
UPDATE OF AUGUST 12:
The latest incident occurred on July 6 when unknown men broke into her home while Danelly Estupiñan was out. Some reports indicate that there is now a reward for killing her. The request for action (see below) remains the same as in the original post.
Danelly Estupiñan defends the rights of the afro-descendent population in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca as part of the organization Black Community Process (Proceso Comunitario Negro). For the last seven months, Danelly has been facing surveillance from unknown men. Danelly has reported these incidents to the Office of the Prosecutor, but its inaction on her complaints led to a recent alarming increase in the surveillance from once a day and only at her home to two times per day and in all locations she visits. It includes her family members. The men take pictures and video of what Danelly and the family are doing.
Please send an email or letter to the Public Prosecutor.
- Start with Dear Public Prosecutor and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
- Raise your concern about the safety of human rights defender Danelly Estupiñan who has endured constant surveillance by unidentified men in Buenaventura since December 2018.
- Call on him to initiate a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the surveillance against Danelly Estupiñan. It must take into account her role as a human rights defender and include a gender-sensitive perspective to ensure her security.
- Urge him to coordinate with the appropriate authorities to ensure that a safe environment is created to enable her to continue her brave human rights work.
Sr. Fabio Espitia Garzón
Fiscal General de la Nación
Diagonal 22B No. 52-01
Bogotá, D. C.
Ronald Rodríguez Roso
Deputy Director of Protection
Carrera 63 # 14 – 97, Primer Piso
Bogotá D.C. Colombia
His Excellency Federico Eduardo Hoyos Salazar
Ambassador for Colombia
360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
Fax: 613 230 4416
Phone: 613 230 3760
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
111 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Postage: None required
Fax: 613 996 9607
Phone: 613 992 5234
Danelly Estupiñan is part of the Black Community Process (PCN) in Colombia, an organization that works to defend the rights of the afro-descendent population in the country. Since 2015, she has been beneficiary of Unity National Protection (UNP) protection measures, and during 2018 she formed part of the Basque temporary protection program for human rights defenders at risk. Danelly runs workshops on human rights and collective protections in different communities in Buenaventura, as well as implementing campaigning and advocacy actions to protect afro communities affected by the development of large infrastructure projects on their territory.
The situation for human rights defenders is critical. In January 2018, Frontline Defenders reported that Colombia was the most dangerous country in the Americas for human rights defenders in 2018. According to the organization Somos Defensores, there were 234 attacks against human rights defenders between January and March 2019, of which 207 were threats and 25 were killings. The same organization reported that between 1 January 2016 and 31 July 2018, there were 336 killings and 7 enforced disappearances of HRDs and social leaders. Between 24 November 2016 (date of the signing of the Peace Agreement) and 31 July 2018, Somos Defensores reported 253 killings and 4 enforced disappearances. Data analysis provided by SISMA Mujer shows that since 2016, there has been a marked increase in killings of women human rights defenders and female social leaders: 133.3% from January 2016 to July 2017, and 14.3% from January 2017 to July 2018.
The groups of HRDs and WHRDs who are attacked most frequently are community leaders, territory defenders (mostly Indigenous and afro-descendant) and land claimant leaders. At the same time, threats against defenders continue and little progress is made on related criminal investigations. Violence against HRDs and social leaders continues to be one of the biggest challenges to the effective implementation of the Peace Agreement.
If you want Updates on this case, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Keep me updated on UA 91/19 Colombia” in the subject line.