EU must demand protection for Colombian communities threatened by conflict

EU must demand protection for Colombian communities threatened by conflict
(Brussels, 21 February 2012) With no end in sight to the long-running armed conflict in Colombia, today marks the eighth anniversary of the killing of eight members of the San José de Apartadó community, a peaceful movement which defends its right not to be drawn into the conflict. Amnesty International has urged the European Union to press the Colombian Government to guarantee the protection of civilians’ rights. 
“Many civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict and the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU should press the Colombian authorities to call an immediate halt to all threats and attacks on human rights defenders, who remain at risk from the conflict.” 
Amnesty International regularly receives disturbing reports from Colombia. Paramilitaries recently shot at Jesús Emilio Tuberquia, a legal representative of the San José peace community, who has visited Brussels several times to lobby the EU for greater support. He escaped, but he and his community remain at risk and there is little sign of those responsible being brought to justice. Since its establishment in 1997, more than 170 community members or other local civilians have been killed or subjected to enforced disappearance. Others have been threatened or sexually assaulted. 
The Colombian authorities have committed themselves to dismantling paramilitary groups and dissolving any links with the security forces, following recommendations from the UN and non-governmental organisations. Amnesty International has also urged the authorities to carry out full, impartial investigations into all human rights violations. 
For more information please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773          
Further links: 
Here is a link to the recent urgent action:
Faxjam the President of Colombia on behalf of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó here: 
San José de Apartadó's website: