The following was circulated by Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on 23 April, 2009. We join in this condemnation of violence and aggression against FEDEAGROMISBOL and social organizations in Colombia.
The undersigned organizations wrote the following release in response to the assassination of EDGAR MARTINEZ RUIZ on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, in what is clearly yet another attempt to undermine local initiatives for peace and justice in the Middle Magdalena area. Mr. Martinez was a member of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation, which CPT has accompanied for more than 3 years.
No more Victims in the Region
Statement to general public
Today at 10 AM in a place known as “Four” about 2 km from the urban center of San Pablo, Bolívar, hit-men assassinated 36-year-old community leader EDGAR MARTINEZ RUIZ, shooting him five times in the head and killing him instantly. EDGAR is one more on a long list of assassination victims of the south Bolívar region. [Authorities] have made no effort to control these actions that threaten peoples’ lives in the region.
EDGAR MARTINEZ RUIZ was an esteemed leader dedicated to the rights of the communities. Therefore he was attentive to forums and events which provided opportunities to defend the rights of rural and urban campesinos of south Bolívar and to draw attention to violations of domestic and International Human Rights. HE WAS AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER.
He was recognized as a leader that participated in various organizations and initiatives in the area, including: representative of the “El Retorno” Community Action Council, spokesperson for the Communities in the San Pablo Social Transformation Roundtable, president of the Association of the Integration of Agro-mining Communities of South Bolívar, and member of the Southern Bolívar Commission for Dialogue with the Government and Southern Bolívar Roundtable for Dialogue. In these he had the opportunity to confront State and national government institutions, not only about regional needs and problems, but also proposals for campesino development and protection of the civilian population. He was currently participating actively in the planning stage of a civil exercise of a process for Municipal Administration Accountability.
The campesino communities, social organizations, and community in general CONDEMN this assassination and all the violence that causes so much grief for civil society in San Pablo and the region. [We] DEMAND that these acts be investigated, brought to trial, and punished; TO GUARANTEE HUMAN RIGHTS, END IMPUNITY.
WE CALL ON all people in solidarity regionally, nationally, and internationally to DEMAND that the National Government take appropriate measures to GUARANTEE the protection of the Life and Fundamental Rights of the civil population.
San Pablo, Bolívar, April 22, 2009
WRITTEN AND SIGNED BY:
Holistic Development Zone
Southern Bolívar Association of Farmers’ and Miners’ Communities
Association of Community Action Councils
Association of Farmers and Miners of South Southern Bolívar
Association of Community Stores
Program for Development and Peace in the Middle Magdalena (PDPMM)
Women’s Popular Organization (OFP)
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)