Afro-Colombian Human Rights Defender Facing Assassination

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Above photo: Danelly Estupiñan en Barcelona después de la entrevista © SANDRA LÁZARO


Danelly Estupiñan defends the rights of the afro-descendent population in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca as part of the organization Black Community Process (Proceso Comunitario Negro). For the last seven months, Danelly has been facing surveillance from unknown men, which increased last week from once a day and only at her home to two times per day and in all locations she visits. The unknown men conduct surveillance not only on Danelly but also on her family members. They take pictures and video of what they are doing.

We call upon the Public Prosecutor’s Office to launch an immediate investigation into these incidents in order to ensure that Danelly is protected. 

Sr. Fabio Espitia Garzón Fiscal General de la Nación (e) Diagonal 22B No. 52-01 Bogotá, D. C.,  Colombia  57(1) 570 20 00 – 57(1) 414 90 00 
Dear Mr. Fiscal, 
I am writing on the recent security incidents affecting Human Rights Defender Danelly Estupiñan, in Buenaventura, who is facing constant surveillance by unidentified men since December 2018. Danelly has reported these incidents to the Office of the Prosecutor, but its lack of action led to a recent alarming increase in the surveillance from one to two occasions during the day and from been only at her home to all places she visits. 
I urge you to initiate a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the surveillance against Danelly Estupiñan, taking into account her role as a human rights defender and a gender-sensible perspective to look after her security. I also urge you to coordinate with the appropriate authorities to ensure that an enabling environment is created so she continues her brave human rights work.  
Yours sincerely, 
FIRST UA: 091/19 Index: AMR 23/0621/2019 Colombia  Date: 01/07 2019 

Danelly Estupiñan is part of the Black Community Process (PCN) in Colombia, an organization that works to defend the rights of the afro-descendent population in the country. Since 2015, she has been beneficiary of Unity National Protection (UNP) protection measures, and during 2018 she formed part of the Basque temporary protection program for human rights defenders at risk.

Danelly runs workshops surrounding human rights and collective protections in different communities in Buenaventura, as well as implementing campaigning and advocacy actions to protect afro communities affected by the development of large infrastructure projects on their territory.   

The situation for Human Rights Defenders is critical. In January 2018, Frontline Defenders reported that Colombia was the most dangerous country in the Americas for Human Rights Defenders in 2018. According to the organization Somos Defensores, there were 234 attacks against Human Rights Defenders between January and March 2019, of which 207 were threats and 25 were killings. The same organization reported that between 1 January 2016 and 31 July 2018, there were 336 killings and seven enforced disappearances of HRDs and social leaders. In particular, between 24 November 2016 (date of the signing of the Peace Agreement) and 31 July 2018, Somos Defensores reported 253 killings and four enforced disappearances. Data analysis provided by SISMA Mujer showed that since 2016, there has been a marked increase in killings of women human rights defenders and female social leaders: 133.3% from January 2016 to July 2017, and 14.3% from January 2017 to July 2018. The groups of HRDs and WHRDs that are attacked most frequently are: community leaders, territory defenders (mostly indigenous and afrodescendant), and land claimant leaders. At the same time threats against defenders continue and little progress is made on related criminal investigations. Violence against HRDs and social leaders continues to be one of the biggest challenges to the effective implementation of the Peace Agreement.  
PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Spanish. You can also write in your own language. 
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 8 August 2019  Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline. 
NAME AND PREFFERED PRONOUN: Danelly Estupiñan (She, her, her)