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Colombia: Human rights defender threatened with death

    Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 10:45

    Luz Marina Arteaga via Twitter


    On 2 October, neighbours informed Luz Marina Arteaga, a defender for the rights of rural communities in the Meta department, in central Colombia, that her house is under continuous surveillance from two unknown men. Three days later, unknown men asked in the village for her whereabouts. 

    Seven months ago, Luz Marina was forced to leave her home due to a death threat. On 16 April 2019, Luz Marina received the death threat in a phone call from the commander of the paramilitary group known as “Los Rastrojos”. On 20 April 2019, she requested protection from the National Protection Unit (UNP) but is yet to receive it. Due to the high risk of the threat and persecution for Luz Marina in her hometown, she was forced to leave. She would like to return home, but fears for her life due to the recent events. 

    Please send an email or letter to the director of the National Protection Unit.

    • Start with Dear Director and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Describe the danger posed to human rights defender Luz Marina Arteaga by the security incidents in the village “El Porvenir,” Meta department and the lack of response to the protection measures she asked for in April.
    • Urge him to grant Luz Marina Arteaga the protection measures she requested.
    • Call on him to coordinate with the appropriate authorities to create an enabling environment so that she can return and continue her human rights work without fear for her safety.

    Write to

    Mr. Pablo Elias Gonzalez Mongui 
    UNP Director 
    Carrera 63 # 14 – 97 / Primer piso 
    Puente Aranda, Bogotá D.C.
    Phone:     011 57 1 426 9800 

    Please copy

    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 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


    Ricardo Arias Macias
    Director for Human Rights Affairs
    Código Postal 111711
    Carrera 8 No. 7 – 83
    Bogotá D.C., Colombia 
    Twitter:    @ricardoariasm

    Additional information

    Luz Marina Arteaga is part of the Asociación de Campesinos e Indígenas Sin Tierra, Víctimas del Conflicto de la Inspección El Porvenir y Matarratón del Municipio de Puerto Gaitan” (Association of landless campesinos and indigenous victims of the conflict of El Porvenir and Matarraton Village in Puerto Gaitan) – ASOCAMEI. 

    In the late 1980s, the inhabitants of these communities were threatened by armed groups and forced to leave their lands. Their land was then illegally sold and taken by armed groups. Luz Marina advocates for the right of the displaced campesinos to regain their land in compliance with the Constitutional Court’s decision SU-426 that orders the national land agency in Colombia to allocate the land to the “historical inhabitant.” 

    Luz Marina Arteaga is the spokesperson for the land restitution process in “Matarratón” and “El Porvenir”. Due to her work, she has been the target of threats by armed groups who want to keep their land for themselves. Luz Marina told Amnesty International that the 16 April 2019 phone message from the alleged commander of “Los Rastrojos” was the following: “You have to leave the village or else we kill you (…) we know all your routes to the village.” 

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