On Friday, 30 September 2016, under the shadows of the Colombian peace agreement and referendum, in the city of Villavicencio, Cecilia Lozano (also María Cecilia Lozano), leader and representative of ASOMUDEM, a grassroots women’s victims association, found a manila envelope under the door. Inside the envelope was a letter with cut out newspaper letters stuck onto it spelling out the following threat: “Keep claiming guerilla lands, snitches Cecilia and Juan Carlos, your days are numbered.” It was signed by a dangerous paramilitary group.
We believe that her life and the lives of others are at imminent risk in Colombia. The violent and direct threat against Cecilia Lozano obstructs peace and justice in the regions affected by the armed conflict. Cecilia Lozano was working locally to support victims of the Mapiripán massacres, who were forcedly displaced, and is leading the process of reclaiming their land. Previous threats have been reported to the National District Attorney who initiated an ongoing investigation. The escalation of these threats on 30 September has prompted WILPF Colombia (LIMPAL Colombia) and others to publically condemn the threats and call for more urgent actions.
WILPF echoes the urgent early warning issued by ASOMUDEM, the local group in Meta State/ County, Colombia, working with displaced women, and we support their demands for justice. WILPF calls for the implementation in Colombia of the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, to fully protect the lives and political participation of women peace activists and human rights defenders.
WILPF stands with Cecilia Lozano. WILPF stands with LIMPAL Colombia. WILPF stands with the women peace advocates in Colombia. We stand up to the enemies of peace.
WILPF supports the following demands:
- The Colombian government must adopt immediate and effective protective measures to fully protect and guarantee the lives and fundamental human rights of the victims of Mapiripán and of the directors of ASOMUDEM.
- The National District Attorney and authorities must ensure full investigations are completed including identifying and prosecuting the intellectual and material authors of these serious criminal acts.
- The Colombian government must ensure, as a matter of urgency, that appropriate Human Rights Defenders protection mechanisms are in place and available, in particular to women human rights defenders.
- The international community, diplomatic delegations in Colombia, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, must use their respective mandates to call on the Colombian Government and its authorities that they respect and guarantee the fundamental human rights of the victims of Mapiripán and members of ASOMUDEM.