Posts Tagged ‘paramilitary’

OHCHR gives preview of new report on Libya in 2014

February 10, 2015

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] published today (10 February) a report, which will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council only in March, describing the situation of human rights in Libya during 2014. It paints a bleak picture of increasing turmoil and lawlessness, fanned by a multitude of heavily armed groups amid a broadening political crisis. Rampant violence and fighting, including in the country’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, as well as many other cities and towns across the country, is badly affecting civilians in general and particularly cases of harassment, intimidation, torture, numerous abductions, and summary executions of human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists and other media professionals, as well as members of the judiciary, politicians and law enforcement officers.

The report, produced in conjunction with the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), also describes numerous incidents of violence against women over the past year, including reports of threats, attacks and killings of female human rights defenders, politicians and other women in public positions. Minority groups, including Egyptian Coptic Christians, have also been increasingly targeted. The report also highlights the extremely vulnerable situation of migrants.

Thousands of people remain in detention – mostly under the effective control of armed groups – with no means of challenging their situation as prosecutors and judges are unable or unwilling to confront the armed groups. UN human rights staff have received reports of torture or other ill-treatment in many places of detention. The deteriorating security environment has impacted heavily on the justice system, which is no longer functioning in parts of the country. Prosecutors and judges have frequently been subjected to intimidation and attacks, in the form of court bombings, physical assaults, abduction of individuals or family members and unlawful killings.

The report highlights the need to strengthen State institutions, ensure accountability for human rights violations and support the ongoing political dialogue.

The full report can be found here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session28/Documents/A_HRC_28_51_ENG.doc

via: OHCHR PRESS BRIEFING NOTES – (1) Libya, (2) Malaysia, (3) Thailand, (4) Venezuela – Press releases – News – StarAfrica.com.

New Death Threats to Human Rights Defenders aim to weaken Colombia’s peace process

September 25, 2014

Two weeks ago I referred to reports about efforts to destabilise the Colombian peace process [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/death-threats-to-human-rights-defenders-linked-to-peace-process-in-colombia/]. Now new threats have been made public – hard to imagine by coincidence – on the eve of the September 22 reopening of negotiations in Havana. Nine human rights defenders in Colombia have been declared “military targets” by criminal group Los Rastrojos.

The latest list includes Marco Romero, director of human rights NGO Codhes who also forms part of the National University of Bogota’s team accompanying the peace process. Also on the list were Leon Valencia and Ariel Avila of NGO Paz y Reconciliacion, and Luis Emil Sanabria of NGO Redepaz.

A pamphlet labeled the nine on the list “guerrilla bureaucrats and human rights defenders dressed as civilians,” appearing to accuse many of them of having links to guerrilla group the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), before stating, “Los Rastrojos reserve our right to continue in the struggle for a country free of slags like you, the only thing you do is cheat people, teaching them communist doctrines against our ideas and the responsibilities of the country in favor of the most needed class.

For Luis Emil Sanabria, the threats issued by the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras only serve to prove that the paramilitary demobilization process of 2006 was an abject failure, demanding a full disarmament process as part of any effective post-agreement phase of the peace negotiations ongoing in Havana: “This effort made by the Colombian government and the FARC, and other guerrilla groups to advance a peace process must bring us to the full deactivation of all of the armed actors, including the criminal groups (a term used by the government for post-2006 paramilitary groups),  including the drug traffickers and of course including the guerrillas groups,” Sanabria told teleSUR.

New Death Threats to Human Rights Defenders Latest Attack on Colombia’s Peace Process | News | teleSUR.

Death Threats to Human Rights Defenders linked to peace process in Colombia

September 11, 2014

Alberto Yepes has been told he will be murdered for his human rights work. (Photo: teleSUR)

(Alberto Yepes has been told he will be murdered for his human rights work. Photo: teleSUR)

Telesur News reports on 10 September that a paramilitary group historically linked to state agents in Colombia has issued death threats to 91 human rights defenders, in a move that could be linked to the advances made in the country’s ongoing peace process. Sent by email to various NGOs and social organizations, the threat was directed at the 91 people and their families and signed by the “Aguilas Negras” [Black Eagles].

According to Alberto Yepes, one of the human rights defenders named in the email, it is in the context of the peace process that the threats must be understood, because the powerful figures that stand behind the work of the country’s paramilitary groups are fearful of what may emerge from any truth commission set up following an agreement. “They sense the imminence of a peace process that will demand things be cleared up. These criminal organizations have been terrorizing the population and social organizations that will in some way have to discover who is behind all of that, and these groups see that as a threat,” said Yepes. Though the links between the threats and the peace process remain speculative, it appears emblematic that the 91 activists were told to leave the country by September 18 – the date set for a Senate debate into ties between paramilitary groups and elected officials.

via Death Threats to Activists Point to Fear Over Imminent Peace in Colombia | News | teleSUR.

“Better to die while speaking the truth” – human rights defenders in the DRC continue to be threatened

December 16, 2013

On 16 December Amnesty International came out with a special report on the death threats and intimidation by armed groups and state security forces in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo [North Kivu] over the past year have, with the aim of silencing human rights defenders, even after the defeat of M23.  The report “Better to die while speaking the truth” details the heightened clampdown on human rights defenders by armed groups and the national security forces since the crisis escalated last Amnesty-Internationayear.  “The whole population is vulnerable to human rights abuses in North Kivu and those speaking out to protect these people are deliberately targeted from all sides,” says Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director. Read the rest of this entry »

Colombian Human rights defender informed of plan to kill him and his wife

June 11, 2013

On 3 June 2013, an email was sent to Colonel Julián González, Chief of Police for Sucre, Colombia, informing him of a plan to kill human rights defender  Juan David Díaz Chamorro, his wife Malena Martínez, and one other person closely linked to the family. Several other human rights defenders were copied in the email. Juan David Díaz Chamorro is the leader of the Sucre branch of the Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de EstadoMOVICE (National Movement of Victims of State Crimes) and the son of Eudaldo Díaz, assassinated Mayor of El Roble, Sucre.  Read the rest of this entry »