A leader of the peasant farmers of El Tamarindo, Northern Colombia, received a death threat on 25 March. Days before, several armed men, suspected to be paramilitaries, attacked and threatened peasant farmers of El Tamarindo following the forced eviction of 43 families from their land.
On 25 March Juan Martínez, a leader of the Association of Land Workers (Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo, ASOTRACAMPO) was in his home in El Tamarindo farm, Galapa municipality, Atlántico Department, when a woman involved with an armed group, suspected to be paramilitaries, threated “until today you are alive Juancito, we already have the people to kill you” (Hasta hoy está vivo Juancito, ya tenemos a la gente para que lo maten).
On 22 March 15 men armed with machetes, suspected to be paramilitaries, blocked the exit road of El Tamarindo farm. They stopped the car in which peasant farmers from El Tamarindo were travelling and tried to drag Juan Martínez out of the car and beat Rainil Marmolejo, also a member of ASOTRACAMPO, who was driving the car. One of the armed men said “be careful, because this is not going to stay like this”. Later that day one of the armed men threatened to burn the houses of the peasant farmers. On 21 March, 43 families of the El Tamarindo farm had been forcibly evicted from the Campo Natasha area following an order from the mayor of Barranquilla.
ASOTRACAMPO represents some of the families living in El Tamarindo. Since 2001 the El Tamarindo farm has been peacefully occupied by 130 families, who had been forcibly displaced in the course of the armed conflict. There have been repeated attempts to force them off the land in El Tamarindo, resulting in the forced eviction of some families in May, June, July and November 2013. On 30 October 2013 they had been declared military targets by the paramilitary group Rastrojos Urban Commands Barranquilla (Rastrojos – Comandos Urbanos Barranquilla).
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Urging the authorities to guarantee the safety, in strict accordance with the needs and demands of the families and supporters of El Tamarindo to continue their campaign for the recognition of their rights to the El Tamarindo land;
- * Calling on them to order full and impartial investigations into the attack and threats by the armed men, to publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
- Reminding the authorities to guarantee the right to an effective remedy to victims of forced evictions and the right of forcibly displaced people living in El Tamarindo to resettlement in conditions of security and dignity in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.