CUPW concerned for safety of human rights defenders Danelly Estupiñan Valencia and Rocio del Pilar Segura

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Thursday December 17 2015

Dear President Santos,

As President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers  who represents  52 000 postal workers I am writing to express my concern for the safety of two human rights defenders, Danelly Estupiñan Valencia and Rocio del Pilar Segura.

On November 23rd Danelly Estupiñan Valencia received a text message stating “Danelly, you are very close to the end” (Danelly esta [sic] muy cerca del final). Later that evening while speaking with a friend on her phone, a voice interrupted their conversation saying “We know where you are, we know where you are” (Sabemos dónde estás, sabemos dónde estás). ). In a separate incident on November 20th, community leader Rocio del Pilar Segura and her family were visited several times by three youth, apparently paramilitaries linked to organized crime, after she took down a street banner erected by TCBUEN, the company building a port container terminal in Buenaventura.

I understand that both leaders are involved in community organizing to defend the rights of people living in the port city of Buenaventura. It is extremely worrisome that at the same time as peace negotiations are taking place, Colombians who are working to ensure that basic human rights are respected continue to be harassed and intimidated.

I respectfully call upon you and the Colombian government to:

  • Take all measures deemed appropriate by Danelly Estupiñan Valencia and Rocio del Pilar Segura to guarantee their safety;
  • Order a full and impartial investigation into the threats against Danelly Estupiñan Valencia and Rocio del Pilar Segura, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice; and
  • Take decisive action to dismantle paramilitary and organized crime groups operating in the city, and break any links with the security forces.

 

Thank you very much for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely, 

Mike Palecek
National President