PBI Colombia Annual report 2012 . April 2013
ANNUAL REPORT 2012
Where we work
Continuing to improve our work
Analysis of the current human rights situation
Accompanying individuals, organizations, and communities that defend human rights
Dialogue and advocacy
Communications and information distribution
Supporting the reconstruction of the social fabric Human resources and training of international observers
Gender and diversity
Who are we? Peace Brigades International (PBI) is a non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations which has maintained a team of international observers/accompaniers in Colombia on an ongoing basis since 1994. PBI’s mission is to protect the working environment of human rights defenders, organizations and communities that are threatened due to their nonviolent activities and promotion of human rights and social justice. PBI Colombia works exclusively at the behest of local organizations and makes no attempt whatsoever to undermine or replace local efforts to defend human rights, but rather to support them through: •
International presence, accompaniment and monitoring
Dissemination of information
Advocacy and outreach
Workshops supporting the reconstruction of the social fabric of communities
PBI Colombia’s mandate is firmly anchored in the principles of non-partisanship and the philosophy of nonviolence within the framework of international human rights standards and strict respect for Colombian law.
OBJECTIVES OF PBI COLOMBIA GENERAL OBJECTIVE: Contribute to peace through human rights in Colombia.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE To protect human rights defenders in Colombia so they may freely carry out their work and actions. In order to reach these objectives, PBI Colombia carries out work in four areas.
Area 1: International observation and accompaniment in the field. Area 2: Political advocacy work in Colombia and internationally. Area 3: Education and awareness raising through periodic publications. Area 4: Self-protection, security and support for the reconstruction of the social fabric.
Where we work Urabá CIJP, Peace Community of San José de Apartadó Curbaradó, Jiguamiandó, Cacarica 1124 accompaniments
Barrancabermeja ACVC, CCALCP, CREDHOS, FCSPP, Lilia Peña OFP, ASFADDES Magdalena Medio, Nordeste Antioqueño, Norte de Santander, Sur de Bolivar and Cesar 491 accompaniments
Bogotá CCAJAR, CIJP, COS-PACC, FCSPP, Manuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation, Jorge Molano, Claudia Julieta Duque
Cali CIJP, NOMADESC, CJL, FCSPP ASFADDES, IPC, MOVICE Valle del Cauca, Norte de Cauca y Medellín 280 accompaniments
Humanidad Vigente, MOVICE, MINGA Casanare, Boyacá, Guajira, Arauca, Meta, Atlántico, Sucre, Córdoba, Tolima 455 accompaniments
his year has been marked by the opening of negotiations between the Colombian government and the guerrilla forces known as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). These negotiations seek an end to the armed conflict that has besieged the country for nearly six decades already. PBI, along with other international organizations, welcomes these negotiations. Nevertheless, it continues to be concerned about the high-risk environment in which so many human rights defenders continue to work and live. Given these circumstances and in accordance with our mission, we feel we must fulfill the role of guarantor so that human rights organizations that participate in the peace process can do so with the protection that international observers/accompaniers provide. Unfortunately, this year we have witnessed with great concern an escalation of threats against human rights defenders. With that in mind, we have continued to focus on protecting and promoting the work of those engaged in the fight against impunity and violations of human rights for economic gain, in addition to supporting peace initiatives by Colombian civic groups. This accompaniment has been carried out during a time of peace negotiations, legislative reforms that may make for continuing impunity such as the amendment to the “Peace and Justice Law” called the “Legislative Framework for Peace”, the reform of the military court system, the introduction of a law to end impunity in cases of sexual violence in the context of armed conflict and the difficulties that displaced populations are 5
having in returning to their lands.1 We carried out an in-depth study on the ground in the Cauca area and the Cauca Valley that involved several of the Project areas for more than a year. As a result of this analysis a team was officially established in Cali in the first third of 2012, with 6 volunteer observers/accompaniers. At the same time, PBI ceased to have a permanent presence in Medellín, although, when required groups continue to be accompanied by teams from Cali and Barrancabermeja. Both decisions were the result of a careful impact study and of an extended exploratory mission on the part of the Project. The decisions were made in the Project General Assembly in 2011 and were implemented in such time as to allow for a gradual departure from Medellin, training of organizations and maintaining PBI’s visibility. Serious budget cuts occasioned by the European financial crisis and the progressive abandonment of international cooperation in Colombia have posed another critical challenge to us this year. It is imperative that measures to combat these factors not be taken at the expense of human rights defenders. Now, more than ever, the international community must guarantee their protection so that they can participate in these peace processes. They cannot participate if, in this critical moment for the country, international cooperation is withdrawn from such important work. Faced with this situation, we have contemplated a change in our structure and procedures so that our work can continue to have the same impact on protection of human rights defenders that it has had up until now, but
with greater effectiveness and efficiency in order to take maximum advantage of the scarce resources at our disposal. Among other decisions that have had to be made based on the financial situation, it was decided to close down the Cali team and drastically reduce the number of volunteers. The decisions on placement of the volunteers have been made by making a comparative analysis of the current situation in the areas where PBI does accompaniment and of the level of risk. With respect to the Cali region, it should be noted that, although it is not going to be possible to keep the team in place in 2013 for economic reasons, PBI now has a much better understanding of the situation and of the human rights organizations in the region, having been monitoring the region closely and directly. This understanding will permit us to continue to provide observers/accompaniers from teams situated in other areas of the country. We at PBI Colombia are firmly committed to continuing our work in the protection of human rights and we thank all those that have helped and continue to help in this work. Together we can support Colombian society in constructing a country enjoying peace and social justice, in which human rights are universally respected and in which all peoples can resolve their conflicts in a non-violent manner.
1. For more information see the Analysis of the Current Human Rights section of this report.
Achievements We accompanied
14 organizations 3 communities 2 human rights defenders
human rights defenders and
39,000 people in the
1,123 days of accompaniment and
318 rounds dedicated to making our international presence known
32workshops in self-protection
We provided protective
during whose objective was the
and Peace Commission during
General Rito Alejo del Rio, who in 2012 was convicted for his
part in the crime against
Marino L贸pez. 8
dealing with the
return of displaced populations,
as in the case of the communities
in the and
accompaniment during trials so that
peace initiatives can participate actively in
For example, PBI accompanied members
between the indigenous
of the Cauca region and the government.
Continuing to improve our work
uring 2012 PBI Colombia took important steps in the development of new strategies and of a monitoring and evaluation system tailored to our work. With the goal of maximizing the organization’s impact and guiding its work for the next three years, a strategic planning process was undertaken that concluded at the Project Colombia annual Assembly in September with the passing of the Strategic Plan. This process has allowed us to generate consensus in our vision, mission and goals as well as in future strategies for PBI Colombia at a time of significant internal restructuring and structural changes. As a result of this effort to maximize PBI’s impact, the decision was made to focus on three strategic targets:
aside from providing a time and place for measuring our accountability, represented the chance for PBI to get valuable feedback about its work and to strategically improve the protection and accompaniment resources it provides to organizations defending human rights. The results of that the initial survey were quite encouraging. Without exception, the organizations were unequivocal in stating that the presence of PBI has diminished risk during accompaniment. One accompanied organization, the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners writes that, “PBI’s protection has contributed to there being no more assassinations in our organizations.” Of the 18 organizations interviewed, 16 have stated that PBI’s accompaniment has al-
“PBI’s protection has contributed to there being no more assassinations in our organizations.” • The struggle against impunity (Principles of Truth, Justice, Reparations and guarantees of nonrepetition) • Human rights violations for monetary gain •
As part of the process, an instrument for measuring PBI’s impact was developed. This participatory survey was administered to the organizations accompanied by PBI and the Colombia Support Network. The goal was to obtain data on the impact of accompaniment and on the perceptions and opinions of PBI held by the diplomatic corps and the organizations that PBI accompanies. This effort also establishes a baseline for measuring the impact of PBI’s work, since the beneficiaries or counterparts of PBI’s work directly evaluate the accompaniment offered by the organization. In this sense, the meetings that took place and the answers that were gathered, 10
lowed them to develop and expand their sphere of influence or their work place. Claudia Julieta Duque, a journalist who has been accompanied, states that, “There are areas where I can’t go if I don’t have Peace Brigade members; if they don’t accompany me, I don’t go.” More generally, the organizations consider our political advocacy to be very positive and an essential part of our work. Moreover, 16 of the 18 organizations consider it to be “very useful” and 2 as “quite useful.” The importance of advocacy work in Europe and North America and dialoguing with the diplomatic corps is also emphasized. In regard to the Support Network, the responses affirmed the credibility, quality and reliability of information provided by PBI. Of five embassies consulted about information transmitted by PBI, 80% say that information and requests from PBI have been useful for informing the governments of their respective countries about the human rights situation in Colombia. We enable them to be aware of
specific cases presented by PBI and better understand the situation of human rights defenders in each of the separate regions. Similarly, 40% say that PBI’s information was useful in their dealings with the Colombian government and 60% state that it was helpful in obtaining more details about topics touched on by their respective governments relating to human rights in Colombia. A full 100% of embassies consulted state that they used information from PBI publications in their work in the last year. 80% say that the publications are very useful and of good quality and that the publications are high quality and manage to present wide-ranging topics simply and concisely. In the words of one Embassy, “the publications are helpful in raising the awareness of new colleagues in the embassy regarding topics such as Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó, illegal mining, lands, etc.” Another stated that they used the information in contacts with authorities and for reports on human rights. According to the responses, PBI has also been able to contribute to its Support Network’s understanding and actions. Half of those surveyed stated that PBI influenced their decision to make site visits or collaborate with human rights defense organizations; 25% observe that PBI influenced their decision to make a public declaration of their support for an organization accompanied by PBI, to attend a hearing and to make a recommendation to the Colombian government; and 75% say that PBI influenced their decision to include those topics that concern PBI in their dialogue with the Colombian government. Given all the aforementioned, we consider this feedback and evaluation process to have been of great use in improving our work and during 2013 it will be continued and expanded to include the development of a specific survey for the organizations benefitting from Support for the Reconstruction of the Social Fabric (ARTs).
Analysis of the current human rights situation
or nearly six decades Colombia has been besieged by an internal armed conflict. According to preliminary figures from a census being compiled by the Special Administrative Unit for Comprehensive Victims’ Reparations, at least 5 million people have been victims of human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.1 Despite a slight decrease in armed activity in the first half of the year, effects on the civilian population such as mass displacements, threats, murders and confinement of entire communities, have increased.2 The indigenous population, in the southwestern part of the country in particular, suffered much from the armed conflict. This led to mass mobilization, mainly of the groups inthe Association of Indigenous Town Councils (Acin) and the Cauca Indigenous Council (Cric).3
Peace Talks During the second half of the year, the Colombian government and the Farc began negotiations to put an end to the armed conflict – negotiations that got formally underway in October in Oslo, Norway,4 and began their active negotiation phase in Havana, Cuba, in November.5 In the General Accord for an End to Conflict and the Construction of Stable and Lasting Peace, signed by representatives of the Farc and the current government of Colombia, the parties committed to enter into formal peace talks around five main themes: (1) agrarian development, (2) guarantees of political participation, (3) the end to the conflict itself, (4) drug trafficking and (5) victims’ rights.6 Social movement organizations and international bodies welcomed the new initiative in their communiqués and public events, but at the
same time expressed qualms about and criticisms of the way the process is being carried out. These concerns center around the theme of the participation of Colombian social movements, with elements including: guarantees of safety and political participation for individual defenders and alternative political movements; the right of victims to truth, justice and reparations; the search for solutions to the country’s social problems; a bilateral ceasefire, and the opening of dialogues with the National Liberation Army (ELN).7 Parallel to the negotiations between guerrilla forces and the government, grassroots social movement groups, working together as the Joint Social Route for Peace8, convened the international gathering known as “Pueblos Construyendo Paz” or “People Building Peace.” In the final declaration of the gathering, the participating organizations proposed the
construction of a “Social Agenda for Peace” and declared 2013 to be the “year of the popular social struggle for peace and social justice.”9
Transitional Justice and Impunity Reforming the “Peace and Justice” law In last year’s report we referred to the relatively poor results that Law 975 or the Peace and Justice Law had generated up to that point with regard to the demobilization of paramilitary groups. As the end of its effective life approached, several studies (by the Attorney General’s Office and by the Organization of American States’ Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia - MAPP-OEA, for example) suggested a reform and extension to the period of validity of the law.10 However, according to Gustavo Gallón of the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), the starting point for a reform of law 975 should be recognition of its failure. According to Gallón, “you can’t continue to treat it like a matter of transitional justice nor as
Extrajudicial Killings In July of 2012, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination (CCEEU) submitted a report on cases of extrajudicial killings occurring in Colombia between 2002 and 2008, arguing that there exists a direct relationship between government policies implemented during Álvaro Uribe’s two terms and the extrajudicial killings. According to the report, the phenomenon of ‘false positives’ is based on a system of incentives and compensation promoted by the Ministry of Defense which put pressure on soldiers to present positive results, measured in ‘number of casualties’. The interim report by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its study on the situation of human rights and international humanitarian law in Colombia supports this thesis.A The report affirms that “a reasonable basis exists for believing that the acts […] of [extrajudicial killings] were committed in conformity with a policy, adopted at least at the level of certain brigades of the armed forces, that constitutes a
MOVICE has documented 25 cases of assassins of people leading restitution processes an instrument for a peace accord that never occurred. This reform must be the instrument that makes this situation yield to justice and makes justice a reality.”11
Judicial Framework for Peace The constitutional reform that was sanctioned in the second half of 2012, according to its backers, attempts to create a legal framework within which the transition process following an eventual peace can be regulated. The framework authorizes congress, at the government’s initiative, to create, within the framework of a peace treaty, statutes that will allow for differential treatment of the various armed groups that have been part of the armed conflict. The Legal Framework has been criticized by rights groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW) who fear that high level government officials, including members of the police force, could evade prosecution for rights’ violations such as extrajudicial killings.12 12
State policy or a policy of an organization to commit said crimes.”13
Military Justice Reform This reform broadening the reach of military courts has been criticized by hundreds of national and international civil society organizations,14 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia,15 and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH).16 The reform establishes a structure parallel to that of the ordinary justice system for sanctioning members of the military or police force except in cases of serious abuse of human rights and war crimes. It creates, then, a special and exclusive system that many claim will lead to impunity.17
Sexual Violence in the Context of Armed Conflict Sexual violence is one of the most veiled aspects of the armed conflict in Colombia and one that enjoys most
impunity.18 In 2011, Amnesty International (AI) published a report on sexual violence against women and girls in the context of the armed conflict.19 In this report, Amnesty cautioned about the lack of information, adequate mechanisms for investigation, and will to prosecute and punish those responsible for these types of crimes. In a follow-up report published in 2012, AI states that, “The multiple barriers that survivors of sexual violence face in their fight for justice remain as strong as ever.”20
Violation of human rights for financial gain THE VICTIMS AND LAND RESTITUTION LAW According to United Nations’ figures, Colombia is the nation that has the second highest number of forcibly displaced persons, below Sudan and above Iraq.21 The Colombian government’s official statistics speak of 3,943,509 people displaced by October of 2011. For 2012, the most worrisome tendency related to forced displacement, according to the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), is the drastic increase in mass displacements with respect to the year 2011; the Consultancy counts at least 130 cases between Jan. 1 and Dec. 10 of 2012. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations have been especially victimized.22 Men and women leading individual and collective land restitution movements have made up one of the groups most affected by the political violence generated by the country’s illegal armed actors. MOVICE, the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes, has documented 25 cases of assassins of people leading restitution processes.23 Furthermore, the Ombudsman’s Office reported 1,400 complaints and lawsuits because of threats to persons leading land restitution and victims’ rights movements. “During the last week of January, 2012, Terry Morel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Colombia, stated that since 2007, more than 1,400 displaced persons have been killed, and […] of every 200 reports of harassment or threats only one is investigated.”24
Violence Against Human Rights Defenders
During its recent visit to Colombia, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) identified several obstacles that human rights defenders encounter.These include the continued presence of illegal armed groups, the existence of illegal activities, violence that jeopardizes the return of displaced persons, the increase in threats, the lack of efficacy in investigations which allows the attacks to continue, and the violation of victims’ rights, among others.25 The IACHR confirmed that there has been an increase this year in the number of threats coming in flyers and phone calls authored by groups that have at times identify themselves as paramilitaries, such as the AntiLand Restitution Army, the Rastrojos and the Águilas Negras (the “Black Eagles”). The IACHR stated that since the investigations are usually ineffective in deactivating the sources of risk, the threats continue to be repeated.26 It is highly disturbing that some of these threats turn into action, as was the case of the land rights leader Miller Angulo, killed on Dec. 1, who had,
prior to that date, been targeted in a mass threat (that also included other organizations accompanied by PBI) by the Bloque Capital wing of the Águilas Negras on Nov. 13, 2012.27 Moreover, in various areas of the country, the number of cases of forced disappearance has in increased. The situation in Magdalena Medio is especially worrisome. Here, according to the Observatorio de Paz Integral (OPI), cases of disappearances quadrupled, going from the three registered in 2011 to 11 by November of 2011.28 The International Office for Human Rights – Action on Colombia (OIDHACO) sounds the alarm about increased attacks in 2012 compared with the two previous years, pointing in particular to the high number of arbitrary detentions,29 attacks against people who mobilize for peace, union members and people who participate in land restitution processes. Indigenous peoples, in particular, have been victims of selective murders (of the 29 defenders of human rights who have been assassinated, 13 were leaders of indigenous communities).30
The International Office for Human Rights – Action on Colombia sounds the alarm about increased attacks in 2012 compared with the two previous years, pointing in particular to the high number of arbitrary detentions, attacks against people who mobilize for peace, union members and people who participate in land restitution processes.
Perspectives for 2013 Despite the fact that the government of Colombia and the FARC guerrillas are in dialogues to end the armed conflict in Colombia, the situation of defenders of human rights and defenders of the civilian population in general hasn’t improved. The support of the international community and of those groups that support the activist movement in Co-
lombia, especially human rights defenders, will be an important element in the transformation of the armed conflict. PBI will continue to accompany those who put their own lives at risk to defend human rights, work against impunity, toward a political solution to the armed conflict and shedding light on the truth.
1. “Gobierno cifra en al menos 5 millones las víctimas del conflicto,” El Espectador 17 Jan. 2013 2. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Colombia: Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin, Issue 6, 01-30 June 2012. 3. Camilo Gonzáles Posso, “Desde el Cauca, desarmar la guerra,” Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, 23 July 2012 4. ‘Ni modelo económico ni doctrina militar están en discusión’. Gobierno, El Tiempo 18 Oct. 2012 5. “Hoy inicia nuevo cicle de diálogo entre el gobierno y las Farc en la Habana,” Caracol Radio, 14 Jan. 2013 6. Alocución del presidente de la república, Juan Manuel Santos sobre el ‘Acuerdo General para la Terminación del Conflicto’, 4 Sept. 2012. 7. See for example, “Declaración final encuentro pueblos construyendo paz,” Pueblosconstuyendolapaz.org, 6 Dec. 2012. 8. The Joint Social Route rises up as a unified front of Colombian social movements to impact discussions between the Colombian government and the FARC and pressure the actors at the negotiating table to carry out the process successfully and take into consideration the needs and demands of civil society. See PBI’s electronic bulletin of Nov. 2012 9. Ibid. 10. Diagnóstico de justicia y paz en el marco de la justicia transicional en Colombia, Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (Mapp-OEA), Baltasar Garzón (coordinator) 19 Oct. 2011 11. Observaciones a propósito de la propuesta de reforma de la ley 975 de 2005, Gustavo Gallón, Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), 14 May 2012 12. Segunda carta de Vivanco al ministro Esguerra, Semana, 8 May 2012. Also see Liliana Uribe, ibid 13. Situation in Colombia: Interim Report of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Nov. 2012. 14. Solicitud de retiro de reforma constitucional que amplía el fuero penal militar a graves violaciones de derechos humanos e infracciones al Derecho internacional humanitario (Reforma a los artículos 116, 152 y 221 de la Constitución Nacional), 14 Nov. 2012 15. Oficina de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos reitera preocupación por reforma al fuero militar, 29 Dec. 2012 16. IACHR’S Preliminary Observations on Its Onsite Visit to Colombia. Annex to Press Release 144/12. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), 7 Dec. 2012 17. Liliana Uribe, ob. cit.; Human Rights Watch (HRW): Colombia: Letter to President Santos Criticizing the Expansion of Military Jurisdiction 25 Oct. 2012; International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ): La reforma al fuero militar en Colombia contradice los objetivos de la justicia transicional; Observaciones al proyecto de reforma constitucional sobre fuero penal militar, CCJ, 15 de noviembre de 2012; Jomari Ortegón: Lo lamentable, lo preocupante y lo inaceptable del proyecto de reforma constitucional al fuero penal militar, Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR), 22 de noviembre de 2012. 18. See Annual report 2011 for more information. 19. Amnesty International, ‘This is what we demand, justice!’ Impunity for sexual violence against women in Colombia’s armed conflict, 21 September 2011, AMR 23/018/2011 20. Amnesty International (AI): Justice: Impunity for ConflictRelated Sexual Violence, a Follow-Up Report, Oct. 2012. 21. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): Colombia. Humanitarian Situation. Synopsis January – June 2012. 22. Codhes: Incremento en vulneraciones a los derechos humanos: El desplazamiento masivo y la situación indígena, Boletín número 80, diciembre de 2012. 23. See, for example, the PBI action alert on the kidnapping and later murders of Manuel Ruiz and his son Samir, leaders of the land restitution process Curvaradó River Valley, accompanied by PBI through the CIJP. 24. Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (Movice): Revista en Movida, No. 5, noviembre – diciembre 2012. 25. OAS: IACHR’S Preliminary Observations on Its Onsite Visit to Colombia, 7 Dec. 2012 26. Ibid 27. Ibid 28. Vanguardia Liberal: Hay preocupación en San Vicente por desaparición de líder comunal. 7 de noviembre de 2012 29. Currently, the State, according to the Agency for the Defense of the State, is faced with a total of 12,552 legal claims of unlawful detention (RCN: El Estado enfrenta más de 12 mil demandas por detenciones injustas, 4 Dec. 2012). 30. See OIDHACO factsheet on the situation of Human rights defenders in Colombia, “Attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia continue to increase” Nov. 2012
Accompanying individuals, organizations, and communities that defend human rights
uring 2012, the Bogotá team has continued to provide a protected working environment for human rights defenders by accompanying them in Arauca, Casanare, Meta, Boyacá, Atlántico, Sucre, Córdoba and Tolima, as well as at events and hearings in the capital. The Bogotá team directly accompanies five organizations – CCAJAR, CIJP, COS-PACC, FCSPP, and the Manuel Cepeda Vargas foundation – and two individual human rights defenders – the journalist Claudia Julieta Duque and lawyer Jorge Molano. In 2012 at the behest of the organizations we accompany and due also to their highly risky exposure, the team has also accompanied Humanidad Vigente and MOVICE. Finally, we must mention our continuing relationship with the MINGA organization.
Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) In 2012, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission was again the victim of defamation in national and regional media aimed at delegitimizing its work. In addition to the defamation, the members of CIJP were the targets of harassment such as being tailed and having their homes and office under surveillance while the cases they accompanied were in progress. Among those cases, we would call attention to the accompaniment of the Commission’s lawyers involved in landmark cases like criminal case 3856 against palm companies over the forced displacement of people in the Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó communities in 1996 and 1997. The case of Operation Genesis and the murder of Mariano López (a Cacarica community leader) is continuing in the Inter-
American Court of Human Rights, as a consequence of which we are accompanying the organization’s lawyers in Bogotá as well as in Cacarica area to allow them to collect testimony and manage the legal procedures that trials require. We also accompanied the lawyers on the nationwide level during these proceedings.In August of 2012 the proceedings culminated in the conviction of Gen. Rito Alejo del Río for his part in the murder of Marino López. The CIJP is also supporting the communities that form part of the Alternative Network of Communities to develop proposals linked to the peace talks and encourage civil society’s participation at the negotiation table.
Claudia Julieta Duque In her work as a journalist as well as in a personal way, Mrs. Duque fights against impunity and for access to the truth for victims of human rights in Colombia.
In 2012, PBI has accompanied Mrs. Duque, during her suit against eight ex officials of the former Administrative Department of Security (DAS) accused of espionage and illegal wiretapping. This case was precedent-setting both at the national and international levels since the charge against the accused is aggravated psychological torture.7 In 2012 she published articles on several controversial topics, among them the case of Sigifredo López8, emerald mining in Boyacá9 and on the “false positive” phenomenon.10
Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services (COSPACC) COS-PACC is currently focused on organizational strengthening and reconstruction of the social fabric in peasant farming and indigenous communities in the departments of Boyacá, Casanare and Arauca that have been and continue to be the victims of human rights abuses. PBI accompanies the members of COS-OACC in the areas to which they have been displaced in order to carry out training workshops, community-wide meetings or meetings with victims.GOur presence ameliorates the risk of false accusations and stigmatization that the organization faces because of its work.
The core activity of PBI is to provide the presence of international observer/accompaniers as a means of protecting men and women who are being threatened because of their activities in the defense of human rights. During 2012, COS-PACC, accompanied by PBI, has been supporting the U’wa indigenous community in their negotiations with the Colombian government over the prior consultation process for oil exploration projects in their territory. In addition to their work of community education about the social and environmental effects of resource extraction megaprojects on lands inhabited by indigenous peoples and peasant farming communities, COS-PACC has promoted the establishment of “Carlos Mesias Arriguí” public schools for leadership training, relying on the presence of PBI in the first sessions taking place in the Casanare and Boyucá regions. En November of 2012, PBI accompanied a congress of grassroots social movements in Bogotá organized by COS-PACC attended by almost 1500 people from eight different departments.
Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP) FCSPP is an NGO whose mission is to safeguard respect for and the rights of persons deprived of their liberty for political reasons. They provide prison assistance and legal aid to political prisoners, monitor conditions in the jails, process inmate complaints, give human rights workshops, collaborate with international organizations and institutions and process cases of human rights abuses. In 2012, PBI accompanied FCSPP in Bogotá in the case brought against multinational corporation Nestlé, accused of being responsible for the homicide in 2005 of Luciano Romero, a trade union member and worker in Nestlé’s Colombian subsidiary, Cicolac.11 The president of the organization, Franklin Castañeda, has been accompanied as he worked in various parts of the country to collect testimony relative to the cases going forward. Similarly, we have accompanied the victims’ attorney, Fernando Kekhan, in the cases that he is conducting.
José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) During 2012, CCAJAR remained one of the organizations that was most often accompanied by the Bogotá team. We accompany the Lawyers’ Collective physically and politically during landmark cases such as trials of government officials,1 and human rights abuses in the context of the environmental battle over natural resources. PBI has accompanied CCAJAR, among others, during the Anchicayá River trial2 (Cauca Valley), and on their expedition to the Ranchería River3 (Guajira) to enable them to document the environ-
mental damage alleged to have been caused by the “Cerrejón” Coal Company and support the Wayuu community in the same region. In addition, we have continued with our accompaniment of trials in progress, including: the case against Colombian government officials for illegal wiretapping – known as “chuzadas” – by DAS; the Administrative Department of Security; emblematic cases dealing with the paramilitary-related political scandal such as the charges against the ex governor of Arauca;4 the defense of Juan David
Díaz5, human rights activist and member of the Sucre chapter of MOVICE facing a trial for having ties to paramilitary forces. In response to the attack on its legitimacy it suffered because of the scandal of the false victims in the case of the Mapiripán Massacre,6 CCAJAR made the results of a financial and political audit public through a process in which PBI participated, in order to demonstrate the legitimacy, transparency and legality of its work.
The Manuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation The Manuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation focuses its work on promoting the development of historical memory among the people. Currently the organization coordinates, along with MINGA and the Caribbean Agenda, a memory project called “The Gallery of Hope”. It is an exhibit of testimonies dealing with various human rights-related topics such as forced disappearance, arbitrary criminal prosecutions, arbitrary detentions, military recruitment of children, and mass graves, among other issues.12 The plan is for the Gallery to travel through the different regions of Colombia, and in the first half of 2012, PBI accompanied the Cepeda Foundation while the Gallery was installed in the city of Bogotá and in Cúcuta. This year, we were present, too, along with the Cepeda Foundation, on the National Day of Memory and Solidarity with Victims that was celebrated in Bogotá on April 9th. It was the first year of this day of commemoration, which was supported by City Hall with the slogan, “Loving and not Killing,” with different Colombian organizations that work to defend victims’ rights all participating.
Humanidad Vigente (HV) Humanidad Vigente works with organized communities affected by systematic violations of human rights in areas of ongoing armed conflict. The NGO provides educational programs and training sessions for vulnerable sectors of Colombian society. One of the most important cases that the organization has taken on was the case of the Children of Tame, in which
Colombian military man was sentenced to 60 years for the rape and killing of three children in the department of Arauca.13 In recent years, HV has received several threats related to its work as legal counsel, sent to the director, Olga Silva. The most notable case is that of Aicardo Ortiz, a lawsuit that represents the first case of extrajudicial killings brought to trial in the department of Antioquia.14
Jorge Molano Independent lawyer Jorge Molano has brought to trial many cases of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, illegal wiretapping by the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) and massacres that involve high ranking military personnel and high level officials. These have included the cases of the massacres at the Palace of Justice in 1985 and in San José de Apartadó in 2005. PBI has strengthened its work of accompaniment of Molano since 2011 when the lawyer gave up the security measures provided to him by the State because of a lack of guarantees by the same body. In 2012, PBI accompanied Mr. Molano during many emblematic cases, among them the case of two extrajudicial killings that occurred in Manizales in 2008. Seven military personnel from AntiGuerrilla Battalion 57, “Puerres Heroes,” have already been convicted for their part in the killings. In association with this case, Mr. Molano, his cliente Alfamir Castillo and his associate, Germán Romero, were the target of a death threat received in October of 2012.15 This situation has led to a significant increase in the level of risk to Mr. Molano.
National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) MOVICE is a social initiative that seeks to unite and coordinate Colombia’s victims’ groups in their fight against impunity and in their civil dialogue with the State as they seek an end to the armed conflict. PBI maintains a presence during their in-house coordination meetings, for example during meetings of their working group on protection, during which PBI shares information pertaining to risk levels and threats to MOVICE’s member organizations. PBI also provides physical accompaniment and political support to the members of the Committee, the executive body of MOVICE, who occasionally request support for the regions where their risk level is the highest. The Bogotá team, for example, provides most of the accompaniment for MOVICE’s work in the department of Sucre, an area that is particularly vulnerable and threatened due to the land restitution efforts underway there. We accompanied MOVICE throughout 2012 during the Victims of State Crimes Day march and to various hearings and training workshops about the Law of Restitution of Lands and the right to reparations for the peasant farmer communities in Sucre and the department of Atlántico.
Summary of activities with the accompanied organizations and individuals: CCAJAR
FCSPP FMCV **
* Claudia Julieta Duque; ** FManuel Cepeda Vargas Foundation; *** Jorge Molano
Others Total 101
n the Magadalena Medio region, the Antioquian Northeast, Northern regions of Santander, Southern Bolívar and César areas, 2012 has been a year in which increasing pressure against social activism and defenders of human rights has been reported. This pressure has generally been manifested in the form of continual harassment and malicious prosecution. In Barrancabermeja, the Ombudsman’s Office issued an alert regarding the violence attributed to the presence of illegal armed groups in certain neighborhoods and expressed concern about the increasing number of forced disappearances in the ranks of human rights organizations.16 The Barrancabermeja team provides direct accompaniment to four organizations– la The Peasant Farmers’ Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), the Regional Corpo-
ration for the Defense of Humana Rights (CREDHOS), the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) and the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP - Bucaramanga division), and the human rights defender Lilia Peña. PBI also had a presence at the “Women’s Courts” event sponsored by the Grassroots Women’s Organization (OFP), and provided accompaniment to Luz Almansa, coordinator of ASFADDES (the Association of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared) in Barrancabermeja, following the continual harassment of victims in 2012.
The Peasant Farmers’ Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) ACVC is an organization made up of peasant farmers and miners that work on topics like the battle against
human rights violations committed for profit, promoting Peasant Farmer Reserve Areas (ZRC) and a peaceful end to the conflict. ACVC has asked for accompaniment by PBI in areas of Northeastern Antioquia, where it works to combat human rights violations committed for financial gain, because of the high levels of harassment to which the organization is subjected there. Such accompaniment has allowed for the establishment of a permanent ACVC office in the municipality of Segovia. Furthermore, during 2012, ACVC continued advocating for a peaceful end to the “social and armed conflict” via action similar to the Peace Encounter of 2011. This time, their meeting, with the collaboration of more than a thousand political, union and civil society organizations, gave rise to the Patriotic March social and political platform.17
Summary of activities with the accompanied organizations and individuals: ACVC
The Peasant Farmer Reserve Zones (ZRC) continue to grow stronger with the backing and impetus of the ACVC. To promote these zones, it has supported leadership training workshops; in Yondó (Antioquia), it presented the sustainable Development Plan for Peasant Farmer Reserve Zones in which 25,000 peasant farmers from Antioquia and southern Bolívar department are represented.Even more impressively, in the Comprehensive Agrarian Policy Forum with a territorial approach that was convened by the Negotiating Committee of the current peace talks, the Peasant Farmer Reserve Zones were one of the principal initiatives presented.18 The ACVC continues to be threatened, and is the target of surveillance and malicious prosecution both of the organization itself,19 and of the individual members and their families. Such are the cases of Andrés Gil20 and of Claudia Mayorga. According to the organization, the malicious prosecution of Claudia represented “a strategy of persecution of civic leaders and peasant farmer leaders in the Magdalena Medio area, by unraveling the family-based social fabric that supports peasant leaders and human rights defenders through baseless prosecution aimed at weakening community and social bonds.”21
Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) In 2012, CCALCP upheld its commitment to work against impunity, for the demilitarization of conflict zones, comprehensive victims’ reparations, public education and the defense of collective and environmental rights. Their remarkably courageous work was once again recognized with the awarding of the National Human Rights Prize in the category of “human rights defender of the year” to Judith Maldonado, president and cofounder of CCALCP.22 Aside from its legal work and work on the ground, CCALCP has done advocacy trips to Europe and at the national level, strengthening its support network and keeping the members of that support network abreast of the serious human rights situation that still exists in the North of Santander, Magdalena Medio and South of Bolívar areas.23 This vulnerability to human rights abuses also affects the women lawyers of the Collective who have suffered various false criminal accusations, indirect threats, phone tapping and the theft of a computer containing sensitive data.24 PBI has accompanied the lawyers of CCALCP, mainly in high-profile trials such as those dealing with extrajudicial killings that they are handling, and on site visits for fact-finding and monitoring missions.
Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) CREDHOS is an organization that for 25 years has worked for the defense of human rights in the Magdalena Medio region. In 2012, despite the harassment and threats that members of CREDHOS have suffered, they have continued to draw attention to the trial of their leader David Ravelo, jailed in September of 2010 and sentenced to 220 months jail time in a trial in which, according to his defense attorneys, due process was ignored. PBI accompanied several members of CREDHOS who were the targets of threats on a permanent basis (24 hours) and on several occasions throughout the year PBI went on alert at the national and international level. In January of 2012, CREDHOS participated actively in the preparations for the commemoration of the XXIII anniversary of the massacre in La Rochela25 and later visited La Rochela in the company of PBI. During the last four months of the year, CREDHOS has increased the accompaniment for cases involving disappearances in Barrancabermeja,26 in support of families of victims27 and in the search for their bodies.
Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP), Santander Branch (Legal Team of the People) From FCSPP in Santander, lawyer Leonardo Jaimes Marín (accompanied by PBI on the national level) and the rest of the Santander Branch have continued their solidarity work with victims of cases of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, displacement and usurpation of lands, politicians’ links to paramilitary groups and criminalization of social protest. The importance of cases being handled by lawyer Leonardo Jaimes Marín (FCSPP) is increas-
ing.This was evident in the trial, during which PBI accompanied Mr. Jaimes, for the homicide of Luciano Romero, a member of the Food and Beverage Workers Union (SINALTRAINAL) who was murdered in 2005.28 In this case, there are parallel criminal proceedings against Nestlé in Switzerland. Another high-profile case is the trial for the extrajudicial killings of Marcos Quintero Rivera, Marcos Quintero Niño, y Nelson Paez, for which 10 mili-
tary personnel from the Unified Action Group for Personal Liberty (GAULA) of the 5th Brigade were sentenced to from 10 to 46 years in prison.29 The legal team is currently appealing to have this case recognized as a crime against humanity. Finally, PBI regularly accompanies the legal and educational work of the FSSPP branch in Curumaní (Cesar), principally in support of the process of return of displaced persons.
n 2012 the MedellĂn team was relocated to the City of Cali due to the necessity of maintaining a permanent presence in South-West Colombia. Unfortunately this change did not turn out to be sustainable in the long term because the resources required to maintain the team in the field were not available.
However, during these months intensive work was carried out in the zone in terms of developing a strong organizational understanding of the human rights situation, and strengthening relationships with the organizations PBI accompany there. This has proved especially valuable in allowing PBI to continue fulfilling our compromise to
accompany several human rights organizations in South-West Colombia. Apart from the organizations mentioned below, PBI has accompanied in a punctual manner MOVICE Valle and the FCSPP Valle Chapter due their high risk situation. We also continue to monitor the situation of the IPC and ASFADDES.
Summary of activities with the accompanied organizations and individuals: CIJP * Office visits
9 Workshops: 1
* Valle del Cauca team; ** Antioquia Chapter; *** in half days
Organizations historically accompanied, punctual accompaniments, and other organizations ASFADDES * IPC Office visits Accompaniments ******
Public events: 3
2 Workshops: 1
38 Public events: 1
Public events: 5
*Medellín Chapter; **Valle del Cauca Chapter; ***Valle del Cauca Chapter; **** organizations accompanied ; ***** Non-accompanied organizations; ****** in half days
Organizations in the South West The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP), Valle de Cauca team. Throughout 2012, with the accompaniment of PBI, the Valle team has been able to enter the Bajo Calima region approximately once per month in order to consolidate their accompaniment of 3 local initiatives with the Nonam Community from the Santa Rosa de Guayacán Indigenous Reserve, the El Crucero or “Km 9” Village Committee, and the United Youth for the Wellbeing of the Bajo Calima”.33 At the end of August 2012, one year after returning to their territory, the Nonam celebrated their first anniversary, after having been displaced by violence and a paramilitary incursion in August 2010.34 PBI was present, bringing direct protection to the CIJP and indirect protection to the community at large.35 This presence was especially necessary in the light of the most recent threat that the community received along with the CIJP in November.36 The El Crucero (Km9) Community received this (same?) threat and it’s possible that it could be related to their resistance to the economic projects of the Agua Dulce Industrial Port Society (SPIA) which has various interests in the area.37 During trips in September and October 2012 with the accompaniment of PBI, the Commission was able to collect victims’ testimonies of the harm they had suffered due to the actions of the SPIA. They also successfully mapped the territory for the collective titling process. 21
At the end of August 2012 the Nonam celebrated their first anniversary, after having been displaced by violence and a paramilitary incursion in August 2010
Association for Social Investigation and Research (Nomadesc) The North of Cauca has historically been a region especially affected by the armed conflict. The situation got significantly worse in July 2012 when the confrontation between indigenous communities and regional armed groups on all sides of the conflict hit the headlines. In 2012, PBI accompanied Nomadesc during their work in the peace process between indigenous organizations and the government, indirectly providing protection to all the organizations present. In August, we accompanied Nomadesc to the Peoples’ Congress (Congreso de los Pueblos) in Caloto and to La Maria for a meeting of indigenous organizations from all over Colombia to formulate proposals for a peace agreement with the government. 30 In the last few months the armed conflict in the North of
Cauca has spread to the regions of Suárez and Morales. In the municipality of Morales, following the deployment of a new task force in the region assigned to fight drug trafficking and regain territorial control, the Foundation for Land and Peace reported a situation of emergency characterized by open conflict and displacement31. In the context of a rapidly worsening conflict, the protective accompaniment that PBI brought to Nomadesc demonstrated its importance. For example, in November we accompanied Nomadesc to the Honduras Indigenous Reserve in the municipality of Morales for the graduation ceremony of the second term of training given by the Intercultural School of Knowledge which involved educational programmes in human rights.32
Organizations in Medellín The Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL)
Throughout 2012 PBI continued to accompany the CJL in their work in the defence of human rights and ending impunity. Above all, their legal actions regarding extrajudicial executions and the representation of victims of state crimes are considered the primary sources of risk for the Corporation. Furthermore, the organization was accompanied in their work with community organization processes. Most notably, during 2012 PBI accompanied the CJL in their work with local communities in resistance to the development of the largest dam in the country, Hidroituango, in the north of Antioquia, Ituango.38 Due to the presence of various armed groups, the situation in the region is very complicated. Furthermore, in response to the civil resistance, the authorities have militarized the area and various community leaders find
themselves in a high risk situation.39 As in the case of this mega Project, human rights violations stemming from economic interests are considered highly emblematic. 40 In Medellín the CJL accompany, amongst others, the victims of Operation Orión.41 2012 saw the 10 year anniversary of this incursion and the CJL took a leading role in organizing monthly events in the Comuna 13 where the operation took place. PBI accompanied the final event, the International Commission for Clarification (16 – 18 October 2012),42 in order to draw attention to the Human rights violations committed in the past which continue to occur today. Such awareness raising is especially important given the problems persisting today in Comuna 13, as well as other marginal neighbourhoods in Medellin. 43
Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP), Antioquia Chapter Throughout 2012 PBI continued accompanying two lawyers of the FCSPP Antioquia Chapter; Leyder Humberto Perdomo, who is also national vice president of the FCSPP; and Fernando Vélez, lawyer with the Antioquia Chapter. PBI’s accompaniment aims to facilitate their work in judicial and formative assistance to individuals in Antioquia detained for political reasons. PBI has also accompanied the Committee in popular mobilizations in Medellín. We would like to draw special attention to PBI’s accompaniment of Fernando Vélez in Simití, Sur de Bolivar, to a judicial hearing in which he was representing two guerrilla combatants of the ELN who had been wounded in combat with the Colombian military. Representing captured guerrilla soldiers is exceptionally high risk work, especially given the presumed paramilitary control of the region.44
Protective accompaniment of three displaced communities
he PBI team in Urabá continues their work in the accompaniment of human rights organizations – the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) - along the rivers Cacarica, Curvaradó, and Jiguamiandó. They also accompany the organizational processes of displaced communities – the San José de Apartadó Peace Community – in the villages of San José de Apartadó County in Antioquia and the municipality of Tierralta in Córdoba.
The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP), Curbaradó AND Jiguamiandó Team Throughout 2012 PBI continued to accompany the CIJP in their work in the basin areas of Curbaradó y Jiguamiandó. This is a high priority for PBI Colombia given its high profile and far reaching implications in the context of the recently approved land restitution laws, as well as the consequently elevated risk level of the communities involved. Although on the one hand this process is reaching its end, throughout the year it has been clear that the risk level of, and threats to, the land reclaimants accompanied by the CIJP in the defence of their human rights has not diminished. PBI’s accompaniment of the CIJP in the region was especially welcome following the forced
disappearance of Manuel Ruíz Gallo, a community leader from Apartadocito, and his 15 year old son Samir, who were consequently murdered on the 23rd of March 2012. Not only did death threats persist this year, but 2012 also saw continued defamation and aggression directed at CIJP and the communities they accompany by presumed paramilitaries. At the same time, business interests and new settlers continue to illegally occupy the collective territory of the communities. As well as the presence of presumed paramilitaries in the zone, both the CIJP and the communities have confirmed the cultivation of illicit crops in the occupied territory. During the protest march of February 2012 by the 4th ecumenical, ecological, and social movement, 200 international and national participants were able to witness the paramilitary control of the zone, swaths of illicit
crops, and the presence of drugs laboratories in Santa Rosa del Limón, on the edge of the collective territory45. The gravity of the situation proves that effective security guarantees necessary for the realization of the restitution of collective territories still do not exist. Even the Constitutional Court of Colombia has reiterated serious concerns about the state of affairs through the issuance of various Autos throughout 2012, the most recent being Auto 299 of the 18th of December 201246. For this very reason, through the accompaniment of members of the Inter-Church Peace and Justice Commission (CIJP), PBI considers a physical presence in the Humanitarian (ZH) and Biodiversity (ZB) Zones of Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó to be an essential tool for protection.
Emblematic Accompaniment: PBI accompany the CIJP and the Committee for the verification of environmental and personal damages in the Jiguamiandó– November 2012.
PBI was present for several days with the CIJP, along with various international organizations, in the verification mission carried out in the Jiguamiandó basin area.The Santa Rosa del Limón community there had denounced environmental and personal damages caused by logging for which the company Maderas del Darién was responsible. During this accompaniment, it was confirmed that the forest clearance had resulted in the blocking of the river Jiguamiandó, as well as material and environmental damages caused by deforestation and construction of canals.47
The Peace Community (CdP) of San José de Apartadó This year, the level of risk of the community leaders (members of the internal council) has been very high. In particular, the community lived an especially worrying period between the months of August and November 2012 for which we expressed our grave concern to various civil and military entities of the Colombian Government, and the international community through our support network. Members of the community and the internal council (CI) –in particular, the leaders Jesús Emilio Tuberquia, Germán Graciano and Arley Tuberquíahave repeatedly been victims of detentions, raids, defamation, and false accusations, as well as being followed and threatened by presumed paramilitary groups.48 Due to the gravity of the situation, the PBI Urabá team have increased their accompaniment of the Peace Community leaders, particularly when they have to travel in the region. The presence of illegal armed actors, and the control they exert, continues to be a serious concern in this region, particularly in the villages of La Esperanza, El Porvenir and Arenas Altas where members of the Community have been targeted with threats. At the same time, armed confrontations in these very villages as well as close to the regional capital, San José de Apartadó, represent a serious danger to the civilian population49 and have been repeatedly denounced by the Community. PBI has accompanied members of the CdP in order to maintain a regular presence in the village with the objective of preventing a forced displacement caused by the aforementioned dangers. Despite such a hostile context, the Community continue developing their proposals for an alternative way of life through projects that aim to build food, energy, and educational autonomy. PBI values the importance of accompanying the Community in these projects. For example, PBI has accompanied the Community during the development of the Campesina Resistance University, organized by the Peace Community in the village of San Josecito in September 2012 and attended by representatives of various Colombian social movements.
The Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) in the Cacarica basin area. The Cacarica basin area, where we accompany the CIJP and indirectly CAVIDA (The Community for self-determination, life and dignity), forms part of the Darién region. Due to its geography, this region is home to various types of illegal trafficking and is the epicentre of several large scale mega projects such as the Trans-American Highway. Construction persisted on the highway throughout 2012 despite the disagreement expressed by the communities of the basin area. The pressure that megaprojects such as this place on the civilian population, along with the presence of illegal armed actors, constitutes a serious threat to the security of those inhabiting the various humanitarian zones. Towards the end of 2012 the increase in pressure from armed actors on the River Atrato, the only access route for the inhabitants of the Cacarica basin area, has become increasingly apparent. River checkpoints manned by presumed paramilitary structures have increased in intensity, directly effecting members of CAVIDA.50 This year, coordinating members of CAVIDA and the CIJP have been directly threatened51 and boats belonging to CAVIDA and other communities have been intercepted on the river by armed groups.52 The profile of CAVIDA has been growing significantly this year due to their participation as witnesses in the operation Genesis case which will be presented to the Inter-American Court at the beginning of 2013; a development which has significantly increased their risk. For these reasons, the PBI’s accompaniment continues to be necessary, above all in navigation of the river Atrato, but not excluding physical accompaniment in the Humanitarian Zones of the Cacarica basin area.
Summary of activities with the accompanied organizations and individuals: CIJP *
* in Curbaradó, Jiguamiandó and Dabeiba; ** in Cacarica; ** in half days
1. For example: The Mondoñedo massacre (Cundinamarca); the forced disappearance of Isaac Galeano (Quindío); the case against General Uscátegui for the San Carlos Guaroa (Meta) massacre; the Toluviejo (Sucre) massacre. 2. The case for damages to the Anchicayá River Afro-Colombian community, located in the municipality of Buenaventura, against the Pacific Energy Company-EPSA S.A, for having dumped more that 500.000 cubic meters of sludge accummulated over more than 40 años into the river in 2001. http:// www.colectivodeabogados.org/Corte-Constitucional-revoca 3. http://www.elheraldo.co/region/termino-expedicion-por-el-rio-rancheria-pero-sigue-la-lucha-78742 4. Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, Ex gobernador de Arauca, Julio Acosta Bernal fue quien dio la orden de asesinar al Registrador Juan Plazas Lomónaco, 2 Abril 2011, http://www.colectivodeabogados.org/Exgobernador-de-Arauca-Julio 5. Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, http://www.colectivodeabogados.org/Montaje-judicial-contra-Juan-David , 24 dic. 2011 6. In November of 2011, the false testimony of one of the supposed victims of the massacre of Mapiripán (Meta in 1997) was made public, in a case handled by the Lawyers’ Collective. The news lead to a scandal and became ammunition for a political attack against CCAJAR, increasing the risk of baseless prosecution of its members. http://www.colectivodeabogados.org/ Verdades-y-mentiras-de-la-masacre 7. El Espectador, 14 de enero de 2012: “¿Por qué el DAS se ensañó contra mí?”: Claudia Julieta Duque http://www.elespectador.com/impreso/ cuadernilloa/entrevista-de-cecilia-orozco/articulo-320915-el-das-se-ensanocontra-mi-claudia 8. La Silla Vacía, 7 de julio de 2012: “Relevos en CTI de la Fiscalía develan presiones en caso Sigifredo López” Claudia Julieta Duque http://www. lasillavacia.com/historia/relevos-en-cti-de-la-fiscalia-develan-presiones-encaso-sigifredo-lopez-33791 9. Nizkor, 6 de agosto de 2012 “Las historias ocultas tras una absolución: “Pedro Orejas” y el 8.000 de Boyacá” Claudia Julieta Duque http://www. derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/doc/orejas1.html 10. Nizkor, 27 de septiembre de 2012 “Planear ejecuciones extrajudiciales en Colombia es simple encubrimiento: Corte Suprema blinda a militares involucrados en ”falsos positivos” http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/ doc/falsos33.html 11. FCSPP, el 7 de marzo del 2012:” Demanda internacional contra Nestlé por asesinato de sindicalista Colombiano”. http://www.comitedesolidaridad. com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=652:demanda-internacional-contra-nestle-por-asesinato-de-sindicalista-colombiano&catid=1:n acionales&Itemid=66 12. Acociacion Minga, el 28 de mayo de 2012: “La galería de la memoria continúa contando su historia”. http://www.asociacionminga.org/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1593:la-galeria-de-la-memoriacontinua-contando-su-historia-&catid=13:caribe&Itemid=11 13. Humanidad Vigente, comunicado de prensa, 7 de diciembre 2012http:// www.humanidadvigente.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article& id=501:comunicado-publicocaso-ninos-y-ninas-de-tame-sigue-la-busquedade-verdad-justicia-y-reparacion-integra&catid=26:comunicados&Itemid=34 14. Aicardo Ortiz was killed by members of the Calibio Batallion in Antioquia in 2008 and presented to the authorities as a guerrilla fighter killed in battle, becoming one more victim of the “false positives” scandal. 15. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR23/040/2012/en 16. Sistema de Alertas Tempranas – SAT, “Ante posibles acciones violentas de grupos armados ilegales contra civiles”, 26 de octubre de 2012 17. Para más información, véase Marcha Patriótica, ¿Qué es la Marcha?,
disponible en http://www.marchapatriotica.org/index.php?option=com_con tent&view=section&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=93, 18. Red nacional de ´programas regionales de desarrollo y paz, Redprodepaz, La Redprodepaz participó activamente en el Foro sobre Desarrollo Agrario Integral para la paz, disponible en http://www.redprodepaz.org.co/noticiasred/1-general-/57-la-redprodepaz-participo-activamente-en-el-foro-sobredesarrollo-agrario-integral-para-la-paz, 20 de diciembre 2012. 19. Movimiento Nacional de víctimas de crímenes de estado, MOVICE, Nuevas amenazas de muerte en Barrancabermeja, disponible en http:// www.movimientodevictimas.org/pronunciamientos/denuncias-publicas/ item/2770-nuevas-amenazas-de-muerte-en-barrancabermeja.html, 21 de agosto 2012 20. Prensa Rural, Detención ilegal de Andrés Gil, vocero de Marcha Patriótica: Un mal comienzo para diálogos de paz en Colombia, disponible en http:// prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?article9131, 14 de septiembre 2012; Prensa Rural, Instigación y seguimientos contra Andrés Gil y su familia, disponible en http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?article9810, 11 de diciembre 2012 21. Prensa Rural, Avanza audiencia pública en montaje judicial contra Claudia Mayorga, campesina del Magdalena Medio, disponible en http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?article9114, 12 de septiembre 22. Delegación de la Unión europea en Colombia, La incansable, persistente y valiente labor de defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Colombia es la ganadora de este Premio, disponible en http://eeas.europa. eu/delegations/colombia/press_corner/all_news/news/2012/20120907_ es.htm 23. See the support and recognition of CCALCP’s work by ABColombia, http:// www.abcolombia.org.uk/subpage.asp?subid=477&mainid=23 24. International Peace Observatory, Nuevas agresiones contra la Corporación Colectivo de Abogados Luis Carlos Pérez, disponible en http://www. peaceobservatory.org/1056320532/nuevas-agresiones-contra-la-corporacion-colectivo-de-abogados-luis-carlos-perez, 13 de septiembre 2012 25. Prensa Rural, Masacre de La Rochela, disponible en http://prensarural. org/spip/spip.php?article7167, 12 de enero 2012 26. Vanguardia Liberal, Cuerpo hallado en el Nariño sí sería de Arley Venté, dicen sus familiares, disponible en http://www.vanguardia.com/santander/ barrancabermeja/179922-cuerpo-hallado-en-el-narino-si-seria-de-arleyvente-dicen-sus-famil, 24 de octubre 2012. 27. Vanguardia Liberal, Más de cuatro días llevan desaparecidos dos pescadores de Barrancabermeja, disponible en http://www.vanguardia.com/ santander/barrancabermeja/185332-mas-de-cuatro-dias-llevan-desaparecidos-dos-pescadores-de-barrancab, 29 de noviembre 2012. 28. European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Nestlé precedent case: Charges filed in murder of colombian trade Unionist, available at http://www.ecchr.de/index.php/nestle-518/articles/nestle_test_case. html, 6 Mar. 2012; Der Tagespiegel, Der Präzedenzfall Diese Woche haben Juristen in der Schweiz Strafanzeige gegen Nestlé erstattet, available at http://www.tagesspiegel.de/zeitung/der-praezedenzfall-diese-woche-haben-juristen-in-der-schweiz-strafanzeige-gegen-nestle-erstattet-/6310812. html, 10 Mar. 2012 (in German). 29. See Press release FCSPP “CONDENADOS A 46 AÑOS DE PRISIÓN DIEZ MILITARES DEL GAULA POR EJECUCIÓN EXTRAJUDICIAL DE TRES CELADORES DEL NORTE DE BUCARAMANGA”, disponible en http://www. comitedesolidaridad.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id =713:fcspp 30. http://www.semana.com/nacion/santos-asistira-este-miercoles-caucapara-dialogar-indigenas/182696-3.aspx 31. REPORTE SITUACIÓN EMERGENCIA No. 006-1, OCTUBRE DE 2012 y No.
006-2, NOVIEMBRE DE 2012 32. http://youtu.be/iuxXGtgkKsY 33. http://www.civis.se/Jovenes-de-la-Cuenca-del-Bajo 34. http://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com/Amenazas-de-muerte-aislamiento-y 35. http://pbicolombia.smugmug.com/Journalism/comunidad-nonam/25466417_LT5zV8#!i=2109769851&k=Ghpr3Qd 36. http://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com/Paramilitares-amenazan-con, http://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com/Amenazas-de-incursion-al-bajo 37. http://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com/Presencia-paramilitar-en-el-bajo 38. http://www.cjlibertad.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article &id=634:idictadura-militar-en-ituango&catid=44:novedades 39. http://www.elcolombiano.com/BancoConocimiento/A/asesinado_otro_ presidente_de_accion_comunal_en_el_norte_de_antioquia/asesinado_ otro_presidente_de_accion_comunal_en_el_norte_de_antioquia.asp 40. http://www.elespectador.com/impreso/negocios/articulo-371705-hidroituango-detalle 41. h t t p : / / w w w. v e r d a d a b i e r t a . c o m / i n d e x . p h p ? o p t i o n = c o m _ content&id=4264 42. http://www.cjlibertad.org/index.php?view=article&catid=70%3Asoycomuna-13&id=639%3Alas-victimas-tienen-lapalabra&format=pdf&option=com_content&Itemid=103 43. http://cjlibertad.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id =650%3Asituacion-de-seguridad-de-jovenes-y-organizaciones-culturalesde-la-comuna-13&catid=70%3Asoy-comuna-13&Itemid=103 http://www. eltiempo.com/colombia/medellin/la-guerra-urbana-que-no-le-da-tregua-amedellin_12371884-4 44. http://ediciones.indepaz.org.co/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/No.58Punto-De-Encuentro.pdf 45. CIJP, Abusos de la brigada 17, complicidad con el tráfico de drogas, palma en Curbaradó, Jiguamiandó y Santa Rosa del Limón, 23rd of Februrary 2012 46. http://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/T-025-04/AUTOS%20 2012/255.%20Auto%20299%20del%2018-12-2012.%20Respuestas%20Solicitudes%20elevadas%20por%20el%20Ministerio%20del%20Interior%20 en%20informe%20del%2026%20de%20Julio%20de%202012.pdf 47. CIJP, Maderas del Darién Pizano S.A causa daño ambiental en Bajo Atrato, 6 de octubre de 2010 48. PJG, Derecho de Petición N.7 al Presidente de Colombia, 2 de agosto de 2012 49. El 15 de Octubre del 2012 se murió Alberto Ariza, habitante del casco urbano de SJA, herido en medio del combate del 04 de Octubre. Constancia de la Comunidad: Anti-cultura de Muerte y Mentiras invade las Instituciones; Alberto Ariza from SJA died on the 15th of October 2012 after being caught in the middle of a combat and wounded. Source: Anti-cultura de Muerte y Mentiras invade las Instituciones 50. CIJP, Amenazas de muerte contra lideresa Rosalba Córdoba e infracciones al DDHH y violación al DH por efectivos de la Brigada 17. 25 de septiembre del 2012 y Humanos del Mundo, Mientras se habla de paz nuestros compañeros son perseguidos y agredidos, 9 de enero de 2013 y CIJP, Afecciones a la vida e integridad, tratos crueles y degradantes a miembros de CAVIDA, 24 de enero de 2013 51. CIJP, Intimidaciones, amenazas y seguimientos a defensores de derechos humanos de la Comisión de Justicia y Paz, 26 de octubre de 2012. 52. CIJP, Nueva agresión de paramilitares a CAVIDA, 9 de noviembre de 2012 y CIJP, Actuaciones paramilitares contra integrantes de CAVIDA e infracciones al derecho humanitario, 11 de septiembre de 2012
Dialogue and advocacy
n a year during which peace was at the centre of the public agenda, PBI looked to call attention to the security incidents experienced by those who had worked for years in the promotion
of a peaceful solution to the armed conflict. 2012 has seen the constant emergence of various themes in PBI’s accompaniment and advocacy work: Monitoring, threatening, and planning to assassinate human rights defend-
ers; unsubstantiated criminal prosecutions, defamation of victims, their legal representatives and national accompaniment; threats and assassinations of land restitution leaders in Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó.
Land restitution in Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó: The first semester of this year saw the completion of the census ordered by the Colombian Constitutional Court (Auto 448) which aimed to identify legitimate land reclaimants in the Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó basin areas. From the beginning of this process in 2011, the InterChurch Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) have been denouncing the increase in threats directed at community leaders and participants in the census committee.1 The CIJP claims that last year 45 leaders in the region were threatened and fear that any of these threats could be carried out, just like the threats preceding the assassination of Manuel Ruiz and his young son on the 23rd of March 2012.2 Following these events, PBI activated its Early Reaction and Alert Mechanism (Sart), providing both increased accompaniment and targeted advocacy. During this year, the increasingly visible presence of presumed paramilitary groups, who have set up base close by and threatened members of the community, has been repeatedly denounced. Towards the end of November, an international commission visited the zone and denounced the presence of 20 men dressed in military fatigues and carrying assault weapons who identified themselves as members of the self-defence Group “Gaitanistas” and warned mem-
bers of the community council that if they informed on their presence they would suffer the consequences.3 Furthermore, it was claimed that there were rumours of mass and selective assassination of members of the Humanitarian Zones (ZH).4 Throughout the year, PBI maintained constant dialogue on the situation in Curbaradó with representatives of the diplomatic community and agencies of the United Nations, insisting on the necessary implementation of the Protection Plan and the cleaning-up of the territory. Likewise, PBI continually met with civil and military institutions of the Colombian State, calling attention to the situation and requesting full monitoring of the case and the implementation of protective measures; specifically, we met with the National
Police, and on several occasions with the Interior Ministry and National Protection Body (UNP), who finally ordered the implementation of some security measures for members of the Humanitarian Zones. On the 18th of December 2012 the Colombian Constitutional Court issued the Auto 299 which ordered, among other actions, the vacation of those areas unduly occupied, and the implementation of the new Integrated Protection and Prevention Plan (which brought together the earlier security measures). PBI will continue to monitor the implementation of these measures into 2013, paying equal attention to the application of security proposals and the clearing-up of the territory.
Through this work PBI maintains constant dialogue with civil and military authorities, the authorized diplomatic community in Colombia, and International organizations. The objective is to express our concern and raise awareness in a wide range of sectors about the protective needs of the individuals, organizations, and communities which we accompany in order to improve their situation Direct aggressions against human rights defenders The last semester of 2012 has seen repeated harassment, along with various other security incidents, experienced by members of the CIJP. Members of the Valle team were threatened by an illegal armed Group
Throughout the entire year PBI called attention to the vulnerable situation of the members of The Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human rights (Credhos); victims of repeated threats, false accusations and harassment. On the 13th of January 2012 two armed men approached Abelardo Sánchez, pointed a gun at him, and told him he had 72 hours to leave town.7 Since then, Credhos has been victim of 13 security incidents.8 In 2012, PBI activated its Support Network on two separate occasions, sending out Action Alerts and meeting with representatives of the diplomatic community and the United Nations with the objective of guaranteeing the security of the members of Credhos and to pre-empt the carrying out of the aforementioned death threats. Likewise, we requested an ambassadorial visit to the region which was led by British and German representatives in the name of the European Union on the 21st and 22nd of March. Furthermore, we met with the Vice President’s Office, the National Police, the Interior Ministry, and the UNP who pledged to monitor the implementation of protective measures that
known as the “Urabeños”5 and those in the coordination based in Bogotá have denounced being followed and monitored in both their homes and workplaces on 13 separate occasions throughout the year.6 Consequently, in November PBI activated their Early Reaction and Alert Mechanism (sart). We met with 5 different embassies to which we communicated our con-
were finally approved for Abelardo Sánchez and María Ravelo despite them having applied for collective measures to be provided to the whole organization. On a less positive note, December 2012 saw the public sentencing to 220 months in jail of David Ravelo, member of the Crehos executive.9 PBI informed the UNHCHR and those embassies that had been following the case and organized 8 separate meetings in which we shared our concern over the legal irregularities which were denounced throughout the proceedings. We underlined the fact that the public prosecutor in charge of inves-
cern, as well as the National Police, the Interior Ministry, and the UNP to whom we insisted on the provision of adequate protective measures. We also had a meeting with Management Sciences for Development (MSD), a private company currently charged with carrying out risk assessments of human rights defenders.
tigating David Ravelo, one Mr. Gildardo Pacheco Granados, had been himself under investigation by the Inspector General’s office (la Procuraduría) in 1993 and later, in 1994, dismissed from his post with the police for his supposed involvement in a case of forced disappearance of a youth in Armenia in 1991.10 Following these meetings, representatives from the diplomatic community visited David Ravelo Crespo in La Picota Prison, monitoring the situation of this human rights defender. Previously they had also visited David Ravelo in the La Modelo Prison in Bucaramanga.
2012 has seen the constant emergence of various themes in PBI’s accompaniment and advocacy work: Monitoring, threatening, and planning to assassinate human rights defenders; unsubstantiated criminal prosecutions, defamation of victims, their legal representatives and national accompaniment; threats and assassinations of land restitution leaders in Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó
Advocacy with platforms
Civil society consultations by the interPBI has continued to participate national community
as an observing member in the DIAL (Diálogo Inter-Agencial sobre Colombia) platform. Through DIAL with have been present in 7 meetings with Colombian civil authorities and participated in various consultations related to the protection of human rights defenders. We also continue to participate as observers in other spaces such as the Magdalena Medio International Complementarity Forum (MIC-MM), the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination Group (CCEEU), La Alianza, and Techo Común.
PBI participated in five national and international civil society consultations on the Human rights situation in Colombia held by foreign state representatives in Colombia, the United Nations, and the International Caravan of Jurists. PBI contributed with information collected from the field on several key areas of concern with the objective of providing a complete image of the human rights situation in Colombia. In July 2012, along with other members of the DIAL platform, PBI participated in the consultation carried out by the UNHCHR in order to collect inputs for their annual report. We
also participated in a space proposed by the Spanish embassy and the AECID (the Spanish International Cooperation and Development Agency) to complement a visit from the Spanish Foreign Ministry’s Head of Human rights looking to carry out an evaluation of the situation in Colombia. In the context of the current peace negotiations, PBI has participated as an observer in various related spaces such as the National Human rights and International Humanitarian Law Conference (la Conferencia Nacional de DDHH y DIH), The National Forum for Integral Agrarian Development (el Foro Nacional de Desarrollo Agrario Integral), and the Joint Social Route for Peace (Ruta Social Común para la Paz).
Type of harassment Aggression. (Potentially due to political motives)
Accompanied Organizations, individuals, and communities affected. CREDHOS, CIJP, San José de Apartadó Peace Community, CAVIDA, habitants of Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó
NOMADESC, ACVC, San José de Apartadó Peace Community, FCSPP, CIJP, CCAJAR, MOVICE Sucre Chapter, habitants in Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó, MINGA, CAVIDA, CREDHOS, ASORVIMM, ASFADDES, OFP, Humanidad Vigente, Jorge Molano
Current prosecutions Prosecutions with formal charges Alleged investigations and/or arrest warrants
Prosecutions: David Ravelo Crespo (CREDHOS), Carmelo Agámez (MOVICE), Andrés Gil (ACVC) Alleged investigations and/or arrest warrants: ACVC, CIJP, habitants in Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó
Stigmatization in the media
ACVC, CCAJAR, CIJP, San José de Apartadó Peace Community, FCSPP, habitants of Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó, COS-PACC, CREDHOS
Theft of information
FCSPP, Humanidad Vigente, ACVC, IPC
Monitoring and surveillance
CIJP, CCAJAR, CREDHOS, ASFADDES, ACVC
b) Meetings with authorities table (resumed)
Summary of dialogue with authorities and institutions in Colombia during 2012 Colombian State
The Police and Military
The diplomatic community, United Nations Agencies, MAPP-OEA, and International NGOs
Coordination spaces, civil society, the Church, etc.
14 Human Rights Ombudsman/ SAT Uraba Vice presidency-Human Rights Programme INPEC Defence Ministry Foreign Ministry Interior Ministry UNP
1 National Police
95 The diplomatic community, United Nations Agencies, MAPP-OEA, and International NGOs
62 DIAL Cceeu MIC Alianza Iasc Common Roof (NGO coalition) Roundtable on Guarantees for Human Rights Defenders NGOs
Within the DIAL Platform
7 MinInt 1 UNP 3 Human Rights Ombudsman (Curbaradó) 1 Special Administrative Unit for Victims Assistance and Reparation 1 Constitutional Court 1
Barrancabermeja Magdalena Medio and Norte de Santander regions
31 Mayor´s office 1 Human Rights Ombudsman 7 Municipal legal representative 21 Inspector General 1 Vice-presidency 1
61 Military 29 Police 30 Marine 2
12 UNDSS 2 UNHCHR 3 UNHCR 1 ICRC 3 OCHA 1 CNR 1 MSF 1
Bogotá Various departments
19 Mayor´s office 9 Departmental government 3 Municipal legal representative 7
27 Police: 18 Military: 8 Marine: 1
2 11 UNDP: 1 Coordination spaces 10 Delegation from the Church: 1 Basque Country: 1
Cali Cauca and Valle de Cauca, Valle de Aburrá. Oriente Antioqueño, Norte Antioqueño
7 Human Rights Ombudsman 5 Municipal legal representative 1 Departmental government 1
30 Police 13 Military 12 Marine 5
23 ONU: 9 MAPP-OEA: 2 INGOs: 12
27 NGOs: 19 Church: 1 Coordination space: 4 Public events: 3
15 Human Rights Ombudsman 11 SAT 4
24 Military 9 Police 12 Marine 3
22 UNHCR 7 OCHA 1 ICRC 2 UNICEF 1 OIM 1 MSF1 Kolko 1 Oxfam 1 ICG 1 BZFO 1 FOR 3 Swefor 1 Palomas 1
16 NGOs 7 Churches 6 Coordination spaces 2 University 1
4 The diplomatic Community: 2 ONU:2
40 Coordination spaces 38 Civil society 1 Church 1
Along with working in the protection and accompaniment of Colombian human rights defenders (individuals and communities), the PBI Colombia Project (the COP) is involved in advocacy and awareness raising in Europe and North America aimed at: bringing to light the reality of the human rights situation in Colombia; supporting applications and petitions of those communities and individuals we accompany; and generating international pressure with the objective of achieving full respect of human rights
BI Colombia’s European office (Brussels) consists of personnel directly dedicated to advocacy and awareness raising on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia. We work with various European Union institutions (the Parliament, the Commission, the Council, and the European External Action Service), and with United Nations bodies and mechanisms (the Human rights Council, Special Rapporteurs, and the UNHCHR). Through the presence of PBI Country Groups, the European Office coordinates advocacy activities with the foreign ministries of France, Spain, Great Britain, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
Actions and results. The European Union Throughout 2012 we have held meetings with European Parliamentarians and representatives of various political groups within the European Parliament in order to grow our support network and encourage actions in favour of the organizations, individuals, and communities that we accompany. Likewise, for similar ends we have held meetings with the European External Action Service, and representatives of the AMLAT and COHOM working groups of the EU Permanent Representatives Committee. As a result of these actions, various members of the European Parliament have sent letters to the Colombian state expressing their concern for the situation of threatened people and about assassinations, and 31
requesting that the Colombian state protect threatened individuals and investigate and sanction those responsible. Events that prompted these letters included: the series of death threats directed at Abelardo Sánchez of CREDHOS; the assassination of the Curbaradó community leader, Manuel Ruiz and his son; the threats to and harassment of San José de Apartadó Peace Community members; and the threats against members of The Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP). Likewise, through our presence in the field we have contributed to the distribution of news and information
from the organizations and people we accompany. This has resulted in European parliamentarians sending press notes and parliamentary questions. For example, in December one parliamentarian of the United Left expressed their serious concern for the situation of the prosecution of human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo of CREDHOS. Finally, PBI has participated in meetings organized by the EU on the EU-Colombia human rights dialogues with the objective of promoting the inclusion and consideration of human rights defenders and impunity.
Through the presence of PBI Country Groups, the European Office coordinates advocacy activities with the foreign ministries of France, Spain, Great Britain, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
Number of meetins
European Parliament *
EU Council **
External Action Service
* Carried out with European Parliamentarians from the political groups S&D, PP, IU and the Greens ** Meetings and round tables carried out with the participation of Spain, Italy, The UK, Sweden, Portugal, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, and Belgium.
The United Nations In 2012 PBI travelled to Geneva where advocacy related to the Universal Periodic Review on Colombia for April 2013 has begun. Our objective has been to meet with members of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations in order to present the report that we, along with various organizations and European platforms, have previously presented to the United Nations. PBI took this opportunity to call attention to the protection of the human rights defenders and communities we accompany. We presented case studies that we consider emblematic of the situation in
Number of meetings
Permanent Missions to the UN *
* Meetings held with permentant missions from Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Ireland.
the Curbaradó and Jiguamiandó basin areas, with special emphasis on the land restitution process. We also aimed to shed light on the difficult security situation faced by human rights organizations that operate in Magdalena Medio .
Throughout the year PBI have been in constant communication with the UNHCHR and have been in touch with the Special Reporter for Human Rights Defenders, the Special Reporter for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and the Work Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
ing the International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia (OIDHACO), Belgian Coordination for Colombia (CBC), and the Human rights and Democracy Network (HRDN).
Tours Throughout the year PBI has supported the tours of various people we accompany. These includedFranklin Castañeda of the FCSPP, Raúl Palacios of the Curbaradó basin area, Danilo Rueda of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, and Gildardo of the San José de Apartadó Peace Community. In collaboration with organizations and European platforms such as Amnesty International, OIDHACO and CBC, we facilitated meetings between those human rights defenders mentioned above and representatives of various European Institutions. We also co-organized an event in the European Parliament and 3 public talks. Furthermore and thanks to the hard work of PBI’s Country Groups, we managed to enable these human rights defenders, along with others we accompany, to carry out their tours of the EU, Switzerland, and Norway as was the case with the Journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, the lawyers of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective (CCAJAR), and the Lawyers of the Carlos Luis Pérez Collective (CCALP).
Organizations and platforms We have coordinated activities and actions with different European platforms to which we belong, includ-
Number of meetings
Strengthening and growing PBI’s support network continues to be a priority.
Jorge Molano used advocacy meetings to raise awareness of the risk he faces and of several emblematic cases on which he is working, including the 2005 San José de Apartadó Peace Community Massacre and an extrajudicial execution in Manizales in 2008.
he PBI office in North America, located in Washington D.C., is in constant and fluid contact with members of the United States Congress and, to a lesser extent, Canadian Parliamentarians, government functionaries of both countries, and the Inter-American System of Human Rights of the Organization of American States. Furthermore, PBI also collaborates continuously with various NGOs in both countries. Through the presence of PBI’s Country Groups, advocacy and awareness-raising is coordinated in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Interaction with the legislative branch During the initial months of 2012 PBI began building relationships with the offices of 21 previously uncontacted members of the United States 33
Congress. Consequently, these Congressmen and Congresswomen have shown an interest in monitoring the Colombian human rights situation through participation in the Congressional Monitoring Group. These meetings led to the growth of PBI’s support network and concrete actions such as the communication of concern by these offices to the Colombian embassy in Washington or the State Department regarding the security of Mr. Sanchez of CREDHOS. During 2012 PBI kept both our new and established contacts up to date on the security situation and the work of the organizations we accompany, emphasizing the necessity to keep the conditions and standards in Colombian-US cooperation. For example, PBI organized a broad agenda of meetings with Congress and the State Department for the visit of the lawyer Jorge Molano who we accom-
pany. Mr. Molano used these meetings to raise awareness of the risk he faces and of several emblematic cases on which he is working, including the 2005 San José de Apartadó Peace Community Massacre and an extrajudicial execution in Manizales in 2008. In the latter case the 2 soldiers accused have just been promoted and assigned to the command of a battalion each. Following these meetings, PBI and Mister Molano secured promises of support from various congressional offices and the Department of State.
Interaction with the executive branch PBI continues to be invited by the State Department to participate in the consultations on the certification of human rights aid to Colombia, along with other invited NGOs. In these consultations we have been emphasising the
protection of rural communities in the context of the Victims’ and Land Restitution laws as well as the situation of human rights defenders. Bilateral meetings are held with the department in order to highlight issues of special concern and meetings are organized between the department and individuals we accompany when they are in Washington. For example, in November we organized a meeting between the Bureau of Democracy, Rights, and Labour Issues of the DOS and 7 Colombian human rights defenders to discuss protection and legislative initiatives in Colombia that cause concern when it comes to human rights.
Entity US Senate
39 (13 new)
48 (6 new)
The Inter-American Commission on Human rights
In 2011, in response to concerns raised by various member states of the OAS (Organization of American States), the permanent council of that organization created a working group to evaluate how the Inter-American Human rights System can be “strengthened”. In January 2012 the work group presented a report that recommends a series of reforms to the Inter-American Commission on Human rights (IACHR). However, many human rights NGOs claimed that some of these changes would actually weaken the protective capacity of the Inter-American Human Rights System. Since then, there have been various opportunities for civil society to par-
1. CIJP: Constancia Ética, Paramilitares aseguran que no se irán de Curbaradó, 26 de abril de 2011; CIJP: Continúan hostigamientos a líderes de tierras, 4 de abril de 2012; CIJP: Asesinados el líder, reclamante de tierras MR junto con su hijo, 2 de abril de 2012 2. CIJP: Asesinados el líder, reclamante de tierras MR junto con su hijo, 2 de abril de 2012 3. CIJP: Urgente operaciones paramilitares en Curbaradó, incursión de asesinatos en el Guamo, amenazas de incursión en Alto Guayabal y amenazas de asesinatos colectivos, 29 de Noviembre 2012; y CIJP: Amenaza de nueva masacre, presencia paramilitar, cultivos de hoja de coca y daños ambientales provocados por Maderas del Darién, 10 de diciembre 2012 4. Ibid; CIJP: Paramilitarismo, ocupantes de mala fe y amenazas a reclamantes de tierra en Curbaradó, 7 de agosto de 2012; CIJP: Amenazas de muerte a reclamantes de tierra, 20 de noviembre de 2012;
Number of meetings
ticipate in the reform process, many of which PBI took advantage of with the following actions: In October PBI submitted 5 documents of observations in response to the consultation on the process launched by the IACHR; in November PBI’s representative in Washington took part in the audience on the process during period 146 of IACHR sessions; and in December PBI’s representative, along with other organizations and users of the system, took part in the special session of the OAS Permanent Council on the reform process. The final decision on the reforms will be taken in 2013.
5. CIJP: Paramilitares amenazan con incursión armada en bajo Calima. 6 de noviembre de 2012 6. CIJP: Seguimiento, amenazas telefónicas, campaña de desprestigio contra Defensores de derechos humanos de la CIJP, 11 de julio de 2012; CIJP: Intimidaciones, amenazas y seguimientos a defensores de derechos humanos de la Comisión de Justicia y Paz, 26 de octubre de 2012; CIJP: Llamadas y cuestionamientos difamatorios a miembros de Justicia y Paz, 01 de Noviembre de 2012; CIJP: Nuevos hostigamientos a integrantes de la CIJP, 10 de noviembre de 2012; CIJP: Presiones y vigilancia a residencias y sede de la CIJP, 18 de noviembre de 2012 7. CREDHOS. «Hostigamiento y amenaza de muerte contra Abelardo Sánchez, defensor de derechos humanos de Credhos». 13 de enero de 2012 8. Movice: Amenazan por correo electrónico a David
Initiatives with other human rights organizations We continue to coordinate our activities with NGOs in the United States and Canada through various coordination spaces. Amongst other actions, a letter on behalf of a coalition of NGOs was sent to President Santos expressing concern for the security of Mr. Sanchez and members of MOVICE. Later, looking toward the 6th of May march organized by MOVICE, the letter was converted into an electronic petition that generated 2500 signatures requesting the protection of the participants in the march. Also, in October a letter was sent expressing concern for the security situation of the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP) and the fact that their permission to enter detention facilities had been denied for several months. In March, in the context of the IACHR audiences, a conference on the situation of women human rights defenders with PBI USA, WOLA, and LAWG was organized in which the lawyers Jomary Ortegón of CCAJAR and Liliana Ávila of CIJP, both accompanied by PBI, participated.
Ravelo, hijo del defensor David Ravelo Crespo, 16 de marzo de 2012; Credhos: Antecedentes de acciones criminales adelantadas por los grupos paramilitares en contra de los integrantes de Credhos, 7 de junio de 2012; Frontline Defenders: Colombia: Actualización: nuevas amenazas contra el Sr. Abelardo Sánchez Serrano, defensor de los derechos humanos, y sus colegas de CREDHOS, 7 de agosto de 2012; Credhos: Acción Urgente, 3 de octubre de 2012; Vanguardia Liberal: Concejal Luis E. Velásquez denunció amenazas de muerte , 30 de octubre de 2012 9. La Vanguardia: David Ravelo fue condenado a 18 años de prisión por crimen de Núñez Cala. 6th of December 2012 10. Ccajar: Organizaciones internacionales expresan serias preocupaciones por las irregularidades en el proceso judicial que llevó a la condena de David Ravelo Crespo, defensor de derechos humanos colombiano. . 10th of December 2012
Communications and information distribution
he communications area in PBI is essential in that it draws the attention of the international community to the situation of Colombian Human Rights defenders. In the survey undertaken of the diplomatic corps in Colombia on the work of PBI, all the embassies mentioned that they use the information in PBI publications in their own work, and that the publications are useful and of good quality. During 2012 PBI publications have focused on impunity and justice; social movements and peace initiatives; and the exploitation of natural resources and its impact. PBI has also worked on the issue of gender and diversity as a crosscutting issue. In Urabá (north-east Colombia), there were three important commemorations of events related to the military operations “Black September” and “Genesis”. These operations 35
have resulted in the displacement of more than 4,000 people over the past 15 years. It was important for PBI’s communication’s team to cover these events.
Publications Electronic Bulletins PBI published three electronic bulletins (February, May and November), which report on emblematic cases and processes that PBI accompanies: massacres; lawyers at risk; mining; and social and victim movements in Colombia. The last bulletin emphasised the development of peace initiatives. The five articles that were published argued that “a country at peace is not built from the top-down: it is the people who have suffered the effects of war, the exclusion and poverty who should be opening the doors for
peace. They know that the conflict in this country goes further than armed conflict, and it is imperative to build social justice”. The report focused on the regions where PBI works: Urabá, Valle del Cauca and Cauca and the Magdalena Medio, emphasising indigenous and afro-Colombian movements. As far as women’s movements are concerned, an article lays out how, over the past two decades, female leaders have founded new women’s’ organizations that are generating a new social fabric with a view to constructing peace. Through Constant Contact, 120, 142 and 110 people respectively accessed the report. Furthermore, 1300 people accessed the reports through Facebook.
• Embera indigenous people say “no” to the mining industry (1800 hits)
In 2012, PBI produced and published nine audiovisual pieces:
• Communities speak out to defend their land in the face of economic interests (600 hits)
• Afro-Colombian communities commemorate more than 15 years of forced displacement, (1400 hits)
• The survival of the Wayúu people (875 hits)
• Colombia commemorates day of Remembrance and Solidarity with victims (600 hits)
(471 hits) • National Awards for the Defence of Human Rights 2012 (110 hits) • Singer from Cacarica talks about his beloved homeland (180 hits)
• Women’s social movement against war and for peace (453 hits)
Additionally, PBI published two video interviews:
• Operation Orion- 10 year later women are still looking for their relatives
• Video interview of a member of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collec-
tive on the deligitimization of victims and human rights defenders (540 hits) • The lawyer Alirio Uribe talks of the irregularities in the case of David Ravelo (700 hits)
Audiovisual notes on PBI’s international accompaniment: With the aim of showing the impact of international accompaniment, we recorded various video interviews on the topic. We interview Father Alberto Franco from the CIJP (200 hits), Jorge Molano (200 hits), Carolina Rubio of the FCSPP (115 hits) and Iván Vergel from Credhos (120 hits). With this same objective, we published one video on physical accompaniment and another on our psychosocial accompaniment (700 and 150 hits respectively).
Blog/photoblog A blog is an important tool so that volunteers can report on the human rights situation and the daily work of PBI- it allows them to write about their personal experiences and stories from accompaniments. We published 14 photo-blogs and 9 blogs in 2012. • In photos, Pueblo Bello: 22 years of dignity, searching for justice • The massacre of La Rochela: 23 years later (153 hits) • Memories of War, Wagering for Peace (266 hits) • In photos: A March for Hope in the Chochó (64 hits) • In photos: Social movements in Colombia • In photos: National Day for Victims Observed in Colombia • 2011 in Photos (100 hits) • March 6th in Montería: International Day for Victims of State Crimes- “We march for land and against dispossession” (135 hits) • In photos: The March for Land Restitution (76 hits) • My adventure as a PBI volunteer (222 hits on the blog and 500 through facebook) • From Cali • In photos: Present in Memory • David Ravelo awaits ruling after two years of incarceration 37
• In photos: National Award for the Defence of Human Rights 2012 (70 hits) • To live, to exist, to fight and to resist! • Accompanying the land restitution process in Montes de Maria • A Day in the life of a PBI volunteer in Cali
Special reports on accompanied organizations These information packs contain information on the accompanied organizations. During the year 12 of these were brought up-to-date.
• Disappearance and subsequent murder of land restitution leader and his son in the Curvarado River Valley (151 hits)
In addition to the PBI Colombia webpage that receives between 2000 and 3600 visits from over 80 countries every month, PBI is active on social networking sites. It maintains an account on YouTube, Facebook, Smugmug (for photo galleries), twitter, and a blog. The information on the website has been updated weekly and on the others according to when the information becomes available. The YouTube account contains all the audio-visual materials and has had 68,000 hits. On Facebook PBI publishes articles and videos related to the human rights situation in Colombia on a weekly basis. Every publication receives between 200 and 400 hits and PBI has received 1121 “likes”. At the end of the year PBI undertook its first Christmas Campaign that aimed to inform on the human rights situation and the work of PBI in Colombia, as well as fundraising for the protection of human right defenders. Over the 15 days of the campaign, we published videos and photo-blogs on a daily basis. The campaign managed to attract 89 new “fans” on Facebook, 1344 hits to the YouTube videos and 2700 hits to the photos on Smugmug. PBI managed to fundraise an additional USD1,600.
• New threat against member of CREDHOS (160 hits)
Contact with the International Press
• Followings and death threats against members of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission Focos de Interés: Like an Action Alert, Focos de Interés aims to call attention to situations of high risk that affect people, organizations and communities accompanied by PBI. Focos de Interés contains information on threats, followings and hostilities against all the organizations accompanied by PBI. In 2012 PBI produced three publications: January to June, July to September and October to December.
PBI plays an important role as a contact for the international press regarding Colombian human rights topics. In 2012, PBI had contact with 22 journalists from Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Greece, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and USA. PBI was interviewed, and also helped to arrange interviews with human rights defenders. The head of communications helped the journalists to find their bearings in Colombia, and gave them advice on the different human rights topics.
• In photos: The Nonam Community and its resistance (70 hits) • In photos: It hurts us to remember, but it hurts us more to forget (524 hits) • In photos: International Conference: People building peace (300 hits) • In photos: With Lawyer Eduardo Carreño in Trujillo (350 hits) • In photos: Visiting a peasant reserve zone (1188 hits) • In photos: Guanmocó: gold and adversity (350 hits)
Action Alert The action alert is a tool sent out to bring attention to situations of high risk affecting people, organizations and communities who are accompanied by PBI, which result in their work and physical integrity being threatened. Four Action Alerts were published: • Death threat at gunpoint against member of CREDHOS (154 hits)
Supporting the reconstruction of the social fabric
he work area of Support for the Reconstruction of the Social Fabric (ARTS) looks to work with organizations, people and communities that defend human rights, in order to help strengthen their capacity for self-protection and equip them with tools to continue their work. These tools are shared through workshops and meetings, as well as one-on-one conversations, and with the help and support of PBI’s psychosocial support network. The methodology used in these workshops is participatory, based on the experience of the participants and aims to encourage participants to make proposals based on these experiences. The facilitators, respecting PBI’s principle of non-intervention, do not impose ideas or solutions, rather they aim to keep the group they are working with dynamic, and ideas flowing.
The workshops with organizational processes, such as that of the Peasant Community of Pitalito, or the Relatives of the Detained or Disappeared in Recetor and Chámeza, are always undertaken at the request of Colombian human rights organizations, who themselves accompany these processes. In our August 2012 Assembly we ascertained that the continuity of our work in this area was highly valued for the contribution we make to the protection and security of human rights organizations. These organizations maintain socially grounded and peaceful positions, yet face new challenges within their search for peace. The work has continued to be undertaken in a strategic and systemic manner, supporting organizations that play key roles in their regions, in women’s’ movements and in displaced populations who wish to return to their land.
In 2012 we accompanied 15 organizations from various parts of the country (Bogotá, Barrancabermeja, Bucaramanga, Cali, Popayán, Buenaventura, Medellín and Casanare). In total we worked with 274 people, who in turn reproduce the workshops, thereby multiplying the capacities of organizations and the processes they accompany.
Strengthening Information Security According to the report by the “Somos Defensores” Programme, theft and attacks on information from Colombian Human Rights organizations continues to increase.1 These attacks include the theft of information, copying the organization’s accounts, blocking their webpages and threats via electronic channels. For this reason, within the area of ARTS, it has been considered a priority to protect human right defenders’ workspace by
Workshops and meetings undertaken
Type of workshop
Number of workshops
Number of organizations
With gender perspective
strengthening the tools they have to protect their information technology areas. This can be separated into two main groups: • Workshops on tools for internal use, communications and data protection at an individual level • Guidance on the implementation of data, IT and communications protection infrastructure
Data recovery due to determined events and/or disasters In 2012, technical advice has been provided to 19 organizations and 11 workshops on IT security have been given.
Psychosocial support network: individual attention according to need In 2012, 18 human rights defenders were referred to PBI’s psychosocial support network to receive attention from specialized personnel. The constant socio-political violence they suffer impacts on their physical and emotional health, requiring specialized attention. On behalf of PBI we thank and recognize the professionalism, care and solidarity that the therapists from the AVRE Corporation, Centre for Psychosocial Attention (CAPS) and the Vinculos Corporation provide for human rights defenders who we refer, thanks to our collaboration agreement.
This year we saw a particularly worrying security situationfor one human rights defender and her family. From the ARTS program we helped her get access to the Protection Program provided by Diakonía for defenders. This help allowed her to leave her city temporarily with her family, allowing the threat to die down for a time and protection strategies to be strengthened. The situation put her physical integrity, emotional and family health at risk. The support she received in leaving and subsequently returning has been fundamental in helping her continue her work as a human rights defender. We wish to thank Diakonia for the help they give to human rights defenders we accompany. 1. Informe SIADDHH primer Semestre 2012. “Un camino solitario”. Programa Somos Defensores.
Human resources and training of international observers
he objective of the training and human resources department is to maintain a body of adequately trained field volunteers able to carry out the tasks, responsibilities, and necessities of the project, decided by consensus. In this way, field volunteers are able to protect the working environment of human rights defenders. From their first contact with PBI to their arrival in Colombia, candidates progress through different phases of an extensive training and selection process that lasts an average of 16 months. Throughout 2012 we received 102 applications which in their majority consisted of women (67%), and people from Europe (83%), although 18 people from the USA, Algeria, and various Latin Americans countries also applied. After an individual interview with the Human Resources Committee, applicants began a distance learning course consisting of 4 thematic workbooks: PBI; Colombian History; 40
Human rights in Colombia: and Accompaniment in Colombia. 15 people were then invited to participate in one of two training weeks which took place in February and September. During this training week we study in greater depth through classroom, interactive, and participative methods, the following themes: history and analysis of the present day Colombian situation; the organizations we accompany; the mandate; the principles and focus and PBIâ€™s work in Colombia; fear and stress management; constructive conflict resolution; group dynamics and consensus; gender and diversity; as well as pre-departure practicalities. In total, 12 people were accepted as future PBI Colombia field volunteers and joined their respective teams in May and September 2012. Upon arrival in Colombia they received a further two weeks of intensive orientation in order to help them prepare and acquire the skills necessary for carrying out their work, un-
derstand the areas of the project and their responsibilities, and familiarize themselves with security protocols. They then left for their field teams where they continued their training with the aim of integrating into the team and their new environment, understanding the specific zones where the team works, getting to know the organizations and individuals the team accompanies, as well as deepening and broadening their analytic capacity for meetings with authorities and procedures in terrain. During their time in Colombia, all PBI staff receives ongoing training workshops which focus on various different themes (e.g. security and emergencies, political debates, team spirit, emotional accompaniment, topical discussions) and aim to strengthen and enhance the internal capacity of the project. These training sessions are given by members of PBI Colombia and external experts. Throughout 2012, we carried out a total of 52 internal ongoing training activities.
Field volunteers: selection process Applications received throughout the year (January â€“ December) People accepted onto the training week (after an interview and the distance learning course) % Women
Training weeks (January and September 2012) Total participants
% of participating candidates accepted
* 5 men and 10 women
Italy: 1 USA: 1
Switzerland: 3 Holland: 2
Germany: 3 Great Britain: 6 Belgium: 2 Sweden: 1 Chile: 1
Nationality of PBI volunteers in Colombia: December 2012
Gender and diversity
hroughout 2012 PBI has given special attention to situations of risk among organizations, communities and human rights defenders from a gender perspective. Female human rights defenders have been victims of systematic intimidation, persecution, kidnapping, torture and sexual abuse, as well as other crimes related to the work they are undertaking. They face specific forms of discrimination as well as physical, psychological and sexual violence for reasons derived from their gender. The threats to female defenders are aimed more incisively at their family, children and grandchildren. Therefore, PBI are developing tools to help us rethink their protection from a gender perspective. This takes into account the vulnerabilities and specific capacities of women in a context of war, and contemplates the protection of their families as well. From the psychosocial perspective? we are making the tools available to be able to analyse and confront specific risks with the aim of creating protection policies that are inclusive and gender sensitive. The construction of these specific tools is a continuous task, as is encouraging human rights organizations to reflect on the topic. In order to strengthen work relating to gender and diversity we creat42
ed the Committee for Diversity within the Colombia Project. It meets periodically in order to: • Construct a collective awareness process on the importance of gender and diversity within the work of PBI Colombia • Become familiar with international human rights norms with a focus on gender and diversity • Implement a gender and diversity focus in all areas of work • Establish a differential perspective when analysing information and publications • Revise criteria in the selection of volunteers • Define protection strategies for people threatened for their sexual orientation • Exchange information with other local organizations and institutions that are focused on gender and diversity issues • Design a strategy to monitor and evaluate the project from a gender and diversity perspective PBI Colombia continues to be committed to the implementation of
equal opportunity policies, and ensures that those who make up the project abide by our directives. These take into account gender and diversity themes cutting across other issues. Equally, within the project we look to maintain a gender balance. Nevertheless, at present the tendency is for most of the applicants (67%), field volunteers (68%), those in support roles (71%), and among the Colombia staff (60%), to be women. Gender and diversity issues have also formed an important part of the various internal training stages of the project. At the initial training stage, participants work on the topic of power and privilege as part of their reflexion and preparation process, before even entering the project. In the first orientation weeks the new volunteers attend a workshop on gender and diversity policies within PBI, and are offered the possibility of working and participating in the Diversity Committee as field team members. In 2012, in line with the continuous training of volunteers, workshops were given on the topic of Accompaniment with a differential focus, and the concept of Do No Harm as a tool for context analysis. For 2013 we are elaborating a summary of texts and basic documents on the perspective of gender and diversity in relation to accompaniment and international observation.
Summary of Accounts and Resources
inancial accounts presented in this report reflect the projectâ€™s financial situation up to 31 December 2012. It has been calculated based on the current exchange rate of 31 December 2012 (taken from the website www. oanda.com USD1,765/COP and EUR 2,332.41/COP). For the conversion of Colombian Pesos (COP) to Euros (EUR), the exchange rate for the first five days of every month are taken and averaged. Net income up to 31 December 2012 was 1.308.489,51 EUR. Additionally, there is still 32.598,33 EUR income from donations to enter, as well as 294.788,58 EUR that is to be used in 2013 (deferred income).The suspension of payments by the Catalan Cooperation Agency has without a doubt affected the financial position of the PBI Colombia Project, with a loss of 11,147 EUR in 2012, which will also be repeated in 2013 unless the situation is resolved, as the Project counted on a triennial convention with them from 2011-2013. The project has worked hard to compensate for this deficit with other donors, which is why the deficit has been less than the value of the money that was not received. The majority of PBI funding proceeds from governmental cooperation, but also includes donations from private sources and foundations. The funds that supported PBI Colombia have come from 25 sources in 11 countries. The total outgoings for PBI Colombia in 2012 were 1.355.058,00 EUR. The general financial situation is constantly monitored to ensure that 43
the organization operates within its financial limitations, taking into account the available and potential financial resources. PBI Colombia seeks to maintain a reserve equivalent to at least three months of operation. The losses suffered are reflected by the reduced reserve at the close of 2012.
2012 FINANCIAL CONTEXT In the project Assembly in September 2012, severe cuts - based on a strategic plan- were implemented for the 2013 budget with the hope of minimising the effect on the work of PBI in Colombia. The aim was to uphold the comprehensive protection of human rights defenders, the organisational structure of PBI and its organisational cycle, as well as the volunteer training processes and benefits for them. In the expenditure chapter of this report, details are given on the most important decisions that affect these changes, and the consequences for the budget. The objective for the PBI Colombia project in implementing these cuts is to prevent the destabilization of the organization due to the world economic crisis and the change in traditional forms of cooperation that are being developed with governments in certain countries. At the same time, the project is implementing a new financial strategic plan that considers the changes that are taking place in traditional cooperation systems, and looks for new sources of funding.
BALANCE PBI ColombiaÂ´s financial operations are registered in Colombian pesos (COP) and then converted into US dollars (USD) in line with PBI International standards. However, in accordance with Colombian legislation, all income in foreign currencies must first be converted to Dollars, for it later to be converted to Colombian pesos. As a consequence, this double exchange increases financial costs. With regard to the Income and Expenditure statement, the conversion of income to USD is made by applying the exchange rate of the day funds are received in non-Colombian accounts. When funds are received in Colombia, they are registered in their original currency in the accounting programme and later converted to COP using the average exchange rate of the first five days of the month in which they are received. All exchange rate values are taken from the web site www.oanda.com Project expenditures and the General Balance are presented in USD using the exchange rate of 31 December 2012, taken from the website www. oanda.com (USD 1,765/COP and EUR 2,332.41/COP)
INCOME We present income from donors and donations in USD/EUR, specifying the currency in which it was received, and the value of the same upon conversion to Colombian Pesos.
Peace Brigades International Colombia Project General Balance on 31 December 2012 General Balance on 31 December 2012
Donations in Transit
Accounts receivable –Projects (Intermon)
Accounts receivable- Institutional project
Computer and Communications Equipment
Accounts payable- Institutional project
LONG TERM LIABILITIES
Accounts receivable-Donations Accounts receivable-Medical Insurance Accounts receivable- Employees Stipend advances- volunteers
Vehicle Fleet Depreciation Computer and Communications Equipment Vehicle Fleet
RESERVES Accumulated Reserve Period results
TOTAL RESERVES TOTAL ASSETS AND RESERVES Isabella Flisi, Legal Representative Angélica Pacanchique, Accountant
Peace Brigades International Colombia Project Results Statement 31 December 2012 INCOME
Foundations and Trusts
PBI Country Groups
Advocacy and public relations
Project Committee and Coordination
Support office costs-Brussels
Costs and Adjustments
Costs and Expenditures from previous periods
Exchange rate difference
NON OPERATIONAL INCOME Interest Tax returns Returns and Discounts Petty Cash
TOTAL INCOME EXPENDITURE
Outreach, preparation and training
Adjustment to pesos Loss on fixed assets adjustment
TOTAL EXPENDITURE Unused funds RESULTS: Income minus expenditure Isabella Flisi, Legal representative AngĂŠlica Pacanchique, Accountant
Explanation of Terms Costs and expendituresResults from previous periods: A detailed revision in 2012 of accounts values from previous years resulted in necessary adjustments totalling 25,023.09 EUR in order to reflect the real value in the final accounts. Exchange rate difference: Includes differences in exchange rates for the income totalling 41.993,30 EUR: exchange rate of the day on income versus exchange rate average used by the PBI accounting system. 45
Peace Brigades International Colombia Project Detailed income report up to 31 December 2012 INCOME Income from Government Agencies
GOVENRMENT OF NAVARRA / M.G.
GOVERNMENT OF NAVARRA / M.G.
SPANISH COOPERATION AGENCY AECID
CITY GOVERNMENT OF PAMPLONA
CITY GOVERNMENT OF BARCELONA
CIVIL PEACE SERVICE
CIVIL PEACE SERVICE
CIVIL PEACE SERVICE
CIVIL PEACE SERVICE
ZIVIK PROGRAM IFA
ZIVIK PROGRAM IFA
ZIVIK PROGRAM IFA
CHRISTIAN AID - 2011
CHRISTIAN AID - 2012
CHRISTIAN AID - 2012
CHRISTIAN AID - 2012
Income from Foundations
MISEREOR - 2011
MISEREOR - 2012
MISEREOR - 2012
AECID / INTERMON OXFAM
AECID / INTERMON OXFAM
AECID / INTERMON OXFAM
MENSEN MET EEN MISSIE
SIGRID RAUSING TRUST
SIGRID RAUSING TRUST
PBI CANADA / CAW
PBI USA / OVERBROOK
PBI SWITZERLAND City of Wallsellen
Income from PBI Country Groups
PBI SWITZERLAND/Canton Vaud/St Galan/Cant贸n Geneva
PBI USA WOLA
BEATRIZ GARCIA DEL CAMPO
INDIVIDUALS OTHER INCOME Bank Interest Tax Returns Returns from costs Petty Cash
* Currency in which funds were originally received, later exchanged into Colombian pesos. 1 Income in USD ($1,447.50 on 5/September/2011), USD ($810.75 on 6/October/2011) and USD ($18,209.70 on 3/ August/2011), the last sum originally received in EUR and then converted to USD. 2 Income based upon the exchange rate at the moment of receipt of funds, except â‚Ź 12,997.65 (3/August/2011), which was sent in EUR. 3 Refers to the currency exchange, the donation was sent in British Pounds (GBP) (ÂŁ11,615) 4 Refers to the currency exchange, the donation was sent in Swiss Francs (CHF) (35,223.50 CHF) 5 Refers to the currency exchange, the donation was sent in Canadian Dollars (CAD) ($2,000) Note: The total values in USD and EUR, reflected in this Annex, differ from those described in the Results Statement, given that for the conversion of COP to USD and EUR of the Results Statement was based upon the exchange rate on 31 December 2012.
Other income PBI Country Groups Private Donations
COSTS Budget execution in 2012 The execution of costs in 2012 was 104% in EUR and 93% in COP. This 11% variation is due to the changing exchange rate, since the Euro has a higher value in Colombia, and upon devaluation of the exchange rate, more Euros were required to pay these costs.
In order to elaborate on the 2012 budget, an exchange rate average was predicted for the year at ERU/ COP 2,566. However, during the year the Colombian Peso increased significantly in value, maintaining an average Exchange rate of EUR/COP 2,311.44 and on 31 December, the Exchange rate was EUR/COP 2,357.46 (according to www.oanda.com). To
take into accountthe costs caused by the devaluing of currencies, as well as the budget cuts brought about by the world economic crisis and subsequently, its effect on international cooperation, PBI made an effort to economise in other areas in order to minimize the effects.
Devaluation of the Euro As we mention in the paragraph above, it has had great importance in the budget for this year.
Some measures taken by the Assembly due to the financial crisis Given the crisis that is doubtlessly affecting international cooperation, certain preventive measures have already been taken. Among these we highlight the following: • Reduction by 50% in field volunteers until December 2013. A third more are set to leave the project. This implies the early closing of con-
tracts, repatriation, etc. • Reduction by 50% of Volunteers in the Support Office, or specialist volunteers. Departure of supporting volunteers means that remaining volunteers assume the functions of those who have left as long as budget cuts remain in place, as well as involving increased repatriation costs in the short term. • After exhaustive cost analysis, donation of the car and boat. This implies terminating the contract of the boat driver and his assistant. • Adoption of decision taken in the 2009 Assembly to terminate all indefinite contracts of Colombian per-
sonnel, and make them permanent. This has brought about costs because under Colombian Law the previous contract must be terminated first. • Closing the support office and transferring the specialized volunteers and Colombian staff to the volunteer house in Bogotá. • Closure of the team in Cali and search for cheaper housing in Urabá and Barrancabermeja. • Redistribution of equipment among teams and offices. This has directly increased the costs involved in moving.
Costs: PBI Colombia 2012- Work areas
Advocacy: 523.617.109,05 18%
Supporting the Reconstruction of Social Fabric (ARTS):
Communication and Publications: 54.082.937,18 2%
Physical accompaniment Internal development and training Advocacy Supporting the reconstruction of social fabric Communication and publications
Internal Development and training: 584.480.189,48 20%
Physical accompaniment: 1.637.838.451,06 57%
PBI Colombia funding agencies
Barcelona City Hall Misereor
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ PBI Norway
Catalan Agency for Development Government of Cantabria
Overbrook Foundation/PBI USA
Government of Navarra
Palencia City Hall
Pamplona City Hall
Broederlijk Delen Sigrid Rausing Trust/PBI UK The Law Society/PBI UK Vitoria City Hall
Annual report 2012
PBI Colombia April 2013
Translation: Sophia Kerridge, Robbie Packer, Kathleen Brown Jacob Stringer
Charlotte Kesl, Alejandro González, Leonardo Villamizar, Julián Montoni, PBI volunteers
1908 - 3489
The opinions and positions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Peace Brigades International or its funding agencies.
© PBI Colombia
All rights reserved.
Protecting human rights defenders in Colombia since 1994
Peace Brigades International (PBI) is a nongovernmental organisation recognised by the United Nations, which has maintained a team of international observers/accompaniers in Colombia on an ongoing basis since 1994. PBI’s mission is to protect the working environment of human rights defenders, who face repression due to their nonviolent human rights activities. PBI Colombia teams remain in the field, at the request of local organisations, accompanying persons and organisations under threat. This fieldwork is complemented by significant dialogue and advocacy with civilian and military authorities, as well as with NGOs, the Church, multilateral bodies, and the diplomatic corp, in order to promote human rights and disseminate information on the human rights situation in Colombia.
If you believe PBI’s presence helps protect persons who carry out human rights work, you may do the following:
• Support us economically on a personal or institutional basis. • Join the nearest PBI country group and support the international network from your place of residence. • Apply to become a volunteer with one of the PBI projects.
PBI Colombia Project Washington, USA Tel. (+1) 202 232 0142 firstname.lastname@example.org
PBI Colombia Project Barcelona, Spain Tel. (+34) 634 256 337 coordinacion.europa@ pbicolombia.net
PBI Delegation in Colombia Bogotá, Colombia Tel. (+57) 1287 0403 email@example.com
PBI Colombia´s annual report 2012.