HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN LOS MONTES DE MARIA
(Translated by Thomas Kolar, a volunteer CSN translator)
THE REGIONAL BOARD OF MONTES DE MARIA "LUIS MIGUEL GOMEZ PORTO" wants to inform national and international social and human rights organizations of the outrage to which the communities of Los Montes de Maria are being subjected by police forces.
1. as is well known, the region of Los Montes de Maria, between the departments of Sucre and Bolivar, for months has been the site of operations by thousands of soldiers and police against groups of insurgents supposedly in the area.
2. the presence of the police forces is evident especially in the grave and continuing agressions against the campesino population living there, such as, arbitrary detention, persecution of community leaders and targeted killings, now made more grave by the presence and complacent acceptance of outside fighters, generating a situation of humanitarian crisis and pushing the communities to the edge of massive displacement.
3. among recent violations of human rights by police forces against the campesinos and their organizations are the following:
a. members of the police of Chalan and troops of the Infantry of the Marine Battalion of Riflemen No.5 de Corozal have held prisoner in his house and continuously harrassed for months MANUEL DE JESUS REYES REYES, treasurer of the Regional Board of Montes de Maria "Luis Miguel Gomez Porto" provoking his forced displacement with terrible consequences for his family and for the organization in which he is a working farmer responsible for sustaining his wife and several children and additionally he is an outstanding community and union leader and fighter for the development of the community and region.
b. similarly, in recent weeks, troops of the Marine Infantry and members of the Gaula and the CTI of the Attorney General have held and harrassed and forced the displacement of LACIDES ANTONIO ACOSTA VILLEGAS, vicepresident of the Regional Board of Montes de Maria "Luis Miguel Gomez Porto.
c. members of the police forces have appeared in villages of rural zones searching for community leaders and generating terror in the communities that know well the strategy of mass and arbitrary detention and targeted killings that have previously been used in this area in conjunction with security forces and paramilitaries.
d. in recent days, several campesionos have been held arbitrarily in rural zones by police forces:
. RICARDO DIAZ, ELIECER ALVAREZ, EUSEBIO ALVAREZ - elderly farmers, held October 8 until 4:00 in the afternoon by a member of the municipal police of Chalan.
. DELSY YEPES NAVARRO - housewife, JOAQUIN LUNA - farmer, held October 28 in the jail of Almagra, sector Plaza Pizarro.
. NAFILO ENCHAVE - taxi driver, held 31 October in town of Ovejas.
1. to the social and human rights organizations, national and international, that are in solidarity with the organizational efforts and resistance of the farming communities of Los Montes de Maria that are expressing themselves in the creation and strengthening of the Regional Board of Montes de Maria "Luis Miguel Gomez Porto" whose work focuses on the defense and promotion of the human rights of the campesinos and of their land rights and their remaining in the area under the theme--"THERE ARE NO CAMPESINOS WITHOUT LAND, AND NO LAND WITHOUT CAMPESINOS".
2. to the media of communication and opinion that are attentive to the acts of the police forces and security forces of the state in the region of Montes de Maria and in all the farming areas of Colombia that they cease the outrages and human rights violations against the campesinos.
1. that the national government, the armed forces, police, and security forces respect nationally and internationally recognized rights and norms for the whole population.
2. that they respect and grant the right of life, liberty, equality, work, education, health, land, and to remain in their homes to campesinos living in the region of Montes de Maria and all over the country.
3. that the institutions of authority, national and regional, that the Attorney General, the Prosecutors, the Public Defenders investigate, adjudicate, and punish those responsible, by act and omission, for these crimes against the human rights of the farmers of Montes de Maria.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621