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Home » Countries » Kolumbien » Womens' Voices - Urgent Action

Womens' Voices - Urgent Action

Murder of Popular Women’s Organisation member and human rights defender in Barrancabermeja

The Colombian NGO, the "Jose Alvear Restrepo" Lawyers Collective, denounces and repudiates the assassination of ESPERANZA
AMARIS MIRANDA, human rights defender and member of the Organizacion Femenina Popular [ Popular Women’s Organisation] in
Barrancabermeja, and we request that all social, trade union, women’s and human rights organisations denounce the event to the relevant
authorities and hold them to their responsibility to protect the lives of civilians in Barrancabermeja and the Magdalena del Medio.


   1.At about 7.30pm on Thursday 16 October, three armed paramilitaries arrived in a public services vehicle at the home of ESPERANZA
     AMARIS MIRANDA in the Versalles area of the city. They threatened her, and forced her into the car, despite the efforts of her
     daughter who threw herself onto the car and was dragged along the road for about 200 metres before falling off, her shoulder
     seriously injured.
   2.Five minutes later, ESPERANZA AMARIS MIRANDA was assassinated by the paramilitaries outside the Camilo Torres Restrepo
     College, and her body was dumped in the road.
   3.When the OFP found out about her disappearance, they tried to contact the police, but no one answered the phone. Previously the
     police had agreed to an immediate response in the case of human rights violations.


ESPERANZA AMARIS MIRANDA, 40 years old, had been a member of the OFP grass roots committee at the "Women’s House" in the First
of May neighbourhood since the year 2000. She was the mother of a 21 year old daughter and a 15 year old son, and worked selling lottery
tickets and games of chance.

Esperanza had previously reported threats from the paramilitaries to the Regional Prosecutor. The paramilitaries have been attempting to
silence the voice of women who denounce aloud events that the paramilitaries want to remain in silence.

According to the Regional Ombudsman, this year alone, Barrancabermeja has witnessed 94 murders, 56 disappearances and more than 600
forced displacements as a result of the social control enforced by paramilitaries.

This murder merely confirms what the OFP, trade unions and other social organisations have been denouncing: that in Barrancabermeja, the
paramilitaries move about freely, act as and when they like, take people from their houses and take them away to kill them.


For the above mentioned events, and so that this crime does not remain in impunity like so many others have, and so that ESPERANZA
AMARIS MIRANDA and her resistance, her strength and her difficult work may remain forever in our memories, we call on the Colombian
state to:

   1.Investigate this crime, and sanction the civil, police and military authorities for their failure to act.
   2.Regain social and political control from the paramilitaries in Barrancabermeja
   3.Investigate not only the crime against Esperanza Amaris, but all the murders that take place every day in Barrancabermeja.

That they guarantee the lives and physical integrity of Esperanza’s family, and everyone involved in the defence of human rights throughout
the whole country.

Barrancabermeja Magdalena Medio Colombia
16 October 2003

Colombia Solidarity Campaign adds:

Please send letter of protest to:

Presidente de la Republica de Colombia:
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vilez Palacio de Narino Carrera 8 No.7-26  Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86  E-mail: auribe@presidencia.gov.co; dh@presidencia.gov.co

[Alternative: to send e-mail to Uribe login to http://www.presidencia.gov.co and click on ESCRIBALE AL PRESIDENTE at the bottom of the

Vicepresidente de la Republica de Colombia Francisco Santos
Consejeria Presidential de Derechos Humanos  Calle 7, No 654, Piso 3  Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Fax: 00 57 1 337 1351  E-mail: fsantos@presidencia.gov.co
Presidential Human Rights Programme
Programa Derechos Humanos Presidencia de la Republica  ppdh@presidencia.gov.co
Fiscal General de la Nacion/Public Prosecutor Dr Luis Camilo Osorio
E-mail:contacto@fiscalia.gov.co; denuncie@fiscalia.gov.co
Procurador General de la Nacion/Attorney General Dr Edgardo Josi Maya Villazon
Carrera 5 N0 15-80 F Fax: 3429723 E-mail:anticorrupcion@presidencia.gov.co
Defensor del Pueblo / Public Defender Dr Luis Eduardo Cifuentes
E-mail:secretaria_privada@hotmail.com; defensoria@defensoria.org.co
And, in the UK, to Colombian Embassy (UK): mail@colombianembassy.co.uk
Bill Rammell MP Under Secretary of State Foreign Office james.morrison@fco.gov.uk