Colombia: Human Rights Defender Adelinda Gómez Gaviria killed and David Ravelo Crespo remains in jail

October 5, 2013

14 September 2013 marked three years since renowned human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, member of the director’s board of the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) based in the city of Barrancabermeja, was detained.  Over NGOs reiterated on that occasion their concerns regarding a series of irregularities that were reported throughout the proceedings which resulted in his conviction and sentencing to 220 months in prison. Reiterating their respect for the independence of the judiciary in Colombia, the NGO statement lists a series of irregularities (see statement in full). The NGOs stress that David Ravelo Crespo is an internationally renowned human rights defender. He has won several awards such as the San Pedro Claver Award from the Diocese of Barrancabermeja in 2009; was one of the finalists for the 2013 Front Line Defenders Award fand has been nominated for the National Human Rights Defenders Awards in Colombia . His NGO was nominated for the 2013 Human Rights Award for the city of Weimar (Germany).

Two weeks later Front Line reports that human rights defender and campesina leader Adelinda Gómez Gaviria was killed in Almaguer, Cauca region. Adelinda Gómez Gaviria worked with the Comité de Integración del Macizo Colombiano – CIMA. She played an active role in the  Mining and Environmental Forum in Almaguer, which has 1,500 indigenous and farming members. On 30 September as Adelinda Gómez Gaviria was returning home after a meeting, she and her 16 year-old son were approached and shot at by two unidentified men. Adelinda Gómez Gaviria suffered five bullet wounds and was killed, whilst her son is in a critical state in the Clínica La Estancia in Popayán city. One month prior to her killing Adelinda Gómez Gaviria had received a threatening telephone call from strangers who warned her to: “Stop messing around with this miners’ thing. It’s risky and it’ll get you killed.” The Red por la Vida y los Derechos Humanos del Cauca (Cauca Network for Life and Human Rights) has registered the murders of fourteen women human rights defenders in Cauca so far this year, primarily from rural areas of Cauca. Twelve death threats against human rights defenders have been reported, with five of those against women.

Colombia: On the third anniversary of the detention of renowned Colombian human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, International organisations express concern / September 13, 2013 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT.

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