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Monday, April 14, 2008

Military announces paramilitary update

(Translated by Stephanie DiBello , a CSN volunteer translator)

Report 54
Puerto Esperanza-Alto Ariari-Meta
The military announces paramilitary update
Pressure persists over community leader
“How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?”Job 21,34

Aldemar Lozano, a community leader and defender of human Rights, has been subjected to a persecution from military units after he denounced extrajudicial executions committed by the 21st Vargas Batallion. On two occasions he has been obligated to leave the district of Puerto Esperanza, in the town of El Castillo, Meta.
In response to Mr. Lozano’s denunciations, army soldiers have harassed and intimidated his family, in particular his wife Rocio Santibanez. They have also initiated state investigations that, due to their procedures, have generated absolute distrust and seem to have become another method of intimidation.
At the same time, the members of the Comunidad Civil de Vida y Paz (Civil Community of Life and Peace), Civipaz, that live in the humanitarian zone of Alto Ariari, have been the objects of bullying and threats in reaction to the report “Evidence and Ethical Censorship” that was drafted by our Peace and Justice Commission. The military has announced the arrival of the paramilitaries, and they say that when they arrive, “the paras, they are not going to respect (the people), because they are infuriated with those people for what they have done.”
In addition to these threats, the military has also abused its authority over the population by plundering villages and encouraging peasants to participate in military activities.
We ask vice president Francisco Santos to intervene in the actions of the 7th Brigade, the military units and commanders that continue to regard the population as a subject of abuses so that the threats made from the paramilitaries are not carried out on Aldemar Lozano, his family, and the members of la Comunidad Civil de Vida y Paz, Civipaz.
We ask the Attorney General of Colombia, Mario Iguaran, to bring an end to the impunity that governs investigations and directly frees the State from any responsibility, among them the crime of Genaro Potes with the forced displacement of the population of Ariari.
Attached Report: Evidence and Ethical Censorship
Bogotá, D.C., April 8th 2008
Intereclesial Commission for Peace and Justice

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