PUBLIC REPORT: HARRASSMENT OF THE REGIONAL ASSOCIATION OF VICTIMS OF MAGDALENA MEDIO (ASORVIMM)
(Translated by Susan Tritten, a CSN volunteer translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor)
MOVICE denounces to Colombia and the world the harassment to which members of ASORVIM are exposed and we express our concern about the dangerous position of its president, Lilia Pena.
On Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 7:40 a.m., some unidentified men were hanging around in front of the office of ASORVIMM in Barrancabermeja (Magdalena Medio). At 7:50 a.m., two of these men stopped and stood in the doorway of the office, where they saw a member of ASORVIMM. She became aware of the presence of the two at the door and went to assist them. Nevertheless, the two men only observed the inside of the office and then went back outside in front of the office. They stayed there watching to see who entered and left the office. Later, a young couple arrived who spoke with the two men and shook hands with them. Afterwards they sat down on the tree trunk in front of the office and the two men left. At that moment Lilia arrived to attend an event that was taking place in the office and it was obvious that the strangers were openly watching her. The strangers then questioned people at neighboring businesses and at the event in the ASORVIMM office. ASORVIMM members called the Police at 112, but were unable to speak with them.
On different occasions there have been attempts to enter the ASORVIMM office and surveillance by unidentified persons in a pickup truck with dark windows or on motorcycles. The last time was on June 10, 2010. Two men arrived on a motorcycle without license plates and watched as an ASORVIMM committee was getting ready to leave on a bus for Bogota.
On May 26, 2010, various organizations in Barrancabermeja, ASORVIMM among them, received a threat over the internet from the address . The message read: "Since there are guerrillas in Barrancabermeja in all those organizations that call themselves displaced persons, human rights defenders, unions, NGOs and SOBs who think they're untouchable, we will exterminate whoever opposes the development and security of the country. You are very mistaken; we won't back down. We won't permit you to continue spreading these notions that will only live in history. We are going to end your radio and television programs and whatever f...ing workshops you come up with. Dogs, SOBs, you are going to be sorry you were ever born. We will not rest; we will exterminate you. Traitors to the fatherland; get out or die."
On December 22, 2009, Lilia Pena Silva received death threats by telephone. Lilia Pena has been receiving threats since 1998, when her partner and the father of her 4 children was assassinated and she began her work in defense of human rights.
That the Colombian state take the measures necessary to protect the life and physical well being of Lilia Pena and the members of ASORVIMM;
That the prosecutor's office investigate promptly and effectively the events reported above in order to find and prosecute those responsible.
NATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR VICTIMS OF STATE CRIMES
OCTOBER 12, 2010