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Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition
Statement denouncing the assassination of Ana Fabricia Cordoba
We are deeply saddened by the assassination of Ana Fabricia Cordoba, a committed women human rights defender, a leader of displaced communities, and a member of the Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, on 7 June 2011 in Medellin, Colombia. This killing is the latest killing of a leader of displaced communities and of those campaigning for land restitution.
Ana had taken a small bus around 10:30 in the morning in the neighbourhood of La Cruz, where various displaced families live. Minutes later, she was intercepted on the bus by some men who shot her once resulting in her death.
Ana Fabricia Cordoba arrived in Medellin as a displaced person in 2001, soon after the assassination of one of her sons. On 7 July 2010, the second of her sons was also assassinated in Medellin. She was part of the group of women called “adventurous promoters of rights” of the La Cruz neighbourhood in Medellin and founder of Asociación Líderes Hacia Delante por un Tejido Humano de Paz (Latepaz), a community organisation that works for improving the quality of life of displaced persons and victims of violence. Recently, she was working for the restitution of lands in Urabá and in the neighbourhood of La Cruz, from which she had been displaced for a second time. She had allegedly reported a number of cases in which rights of displaced persons had been violated by paramilitaries in the Medellín neighborhoods of La Cruz and La Honda.
The government has the responsibility to effectively protect Anagiven that she had reportedly made efforts to inform the office of the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the National Police of the threats against her life. In April 2011, she also declared to the Metropolitan Committee on Human Rights in the presence of local and national officials: “they are going to kill me and no one has done anything”.
In her latest report before to the Human Rights Council last 10 March 2011, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya pointed out that of the 292 communications regarding threats and death threats received by her office from 2004 – 2009, the largest number pertained to Colombia. The highest number of communications regarding killing of women human rights defenders for the same period was also in Colombia. She raised concern that women human rights defenders working on indigenous rights and fighting impunity are most at risk in the country.
UN Special Rapporteur Sekaggya also specifically mentioned in her report that her office received information “indicating that the Government of Colombia has made efforts to incorporate a gender dimension into the protection programme for internally displaced women, which has paid special attention to those women leaders of these communities. These efforts have included consultation with this group of women defenders during the design and implementation of specific protection actions”.
The government’s protection programme clearly failed to protect internally displaced women like Ana Fabricia Cordoba in spite of the government’s public commitment to do so.
We demand the Government of Colombia specifically to:
Carry out an immediate and thorough investigation into the killing of women human rights defender Ana Fabricia Cordoba, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
Immediately take all necessary measures to ensure that the security and physical and psychological integrity of Ana Fabricia Cordoba’s family and other internally displaced communities and activists in the country; any measures should be in strict accordance with their wishes;
Ensure that the government’s protection programme’s are effectively implemented to ensure that women and other human rights defenders in Colombia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Endorsed by the following members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition:
- Amnesty International (AI)
- Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
- Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia)
- Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
- Baobab for Women's Human Rights
- Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR)
- Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL)
- Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
- Front Line International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Front Line)
- Human Rights First
- Information Monitor (Inform)
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
- International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW‐AP)
- Isis International
- ISIS‐Women's International Cross‐Cultural Exchange (ISIS‐WICCE)
- The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM)
- Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights (UAF)
- Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
- Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
- Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)
- Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC)
- World Organization against Torture (OMCT)
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