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Urgent Action: An Update on the Threats against the OFP

OFPOn February 18 2013 CPT Colombia sent out an urgent action in support of Women’s Popular Organization (OFP) leader GLORIA AMPARO SUAREZ.  On February 11th 2013, a man came to the OFP office and made threats against Suarez and her two sons.  Showing Suarez pictures of her sons, he told her that if the OFP didn’t stop causing a commotion at a national level they would kill her.  (see original Urgent Action)

In a recent conversation with Gloria, she informed CPT Colombia that for security reasons she had decided to send her sons out of the country for an undetermined period of time.  Through contacts they were able to receive scholarships to study in Europe.  “This is one of the most difficult things my husband and I have endured. We have never been separated from our boys like this. However, it was necessary because the threat was so strong.”

As a recognized community leader, the Colombian government has provided Suarez with a vehicle and body guards but this is only for her protection. There has been no protection provided for her family or for other members in the OFP.  She also noted that although the government is supposed to pay for the fuel and other costs related to the use of the vehicle they have not provided the funds. This means a great financial burden on the organization, just to maintain such security measures.  Gloria has requested that letters continue to be sent to the Colombian government as the investigation into the threats has not shown any progress in identifying the perpetrators.

CPT would like to thank all of you who have sent letters to the Colombian authorities and letters of support to Gloria and the OFP.  Your continued support is needed.

Please send an email to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon via the Colombian Embassy or Consulate in your country or region:

Canada – send the letter via
Mr. César Felipe González Hernández, Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of Colombia
360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
Canada
Fax: 613-230-4416
Email: ministro@embajadacolombia.ca
United States – send the letter via
Ms. Claudia Cuevas, Second Secretary, Human Rights and Minorities
Embassy of Colombia
2118 Leroy Place, NW
Washington DC 20008
USA
FAX: 202-232-8643  ext. 266
Email: ccuevas@colombiaemb.org
Other countries – See http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/node/3606
for physical and email addresses of the nearest consulate or embassy.

Start with Dear President Santos / Estimado Sr. Presidente.

  1. Describe briefly who you are or where you are writing from.
  2. Express great concern for the safety of Gloria Amparo Suárez and her children, Yolanda Becerra, and other members of OFP after the threats against them.
  3. Ask President Santos to arrange for the kinds of protection they request.
  4. Urge him to order a full and impartial investigation into the threats, to publish the results and to bring those responsible to justice.
  5. Please note that Colombia has free trade agreements with the United States, Canada, the European Union Free Trade Association, the European Union and South Korea. Citizens of these countries or blocks are encouraged to mention the expectation that in light of this relationship, any such threat against human rights defenders will be treated as a matter of the highest priority.Ask for a reply to let you know what steps have been taken.

Please forward a copy of your letters to the Women’s Popular Organization (OFP) femenina@colnodo.apc.org and to CPT Colombia cptco@cpt.org

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About CPT Colombia

CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) Colombia is an International organization seeking to be allies for and partner with communities who are threatened with displacement and violence. We try to support their initiatives to promote justice and peace and their resistance to attempts by those who oppress them and seek to dispossess them of their land, culture and livelihoods.

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