From: Colombian Labor Monitor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 08:25:49 -0600 (CST)
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: AI: Urgent Action UA 30/02 on Colombia

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

URGENT ACTION APPEAL
________________________________________________________________________
Go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/newslett.html
to read this month's newsletter.

31 January 2002

UA 30/02  Fear for Safety/Possible 'disappearance'

COLOMBIA  Johana Vargas Bustos (f), aged 16

Soldiers reportedly detained 16-year-old Johana Vargas Bustos on 18
January at a checkpoint in El Castillo municipality, in Meta
department. She has not been seen since. Amnesty International
fears she may have 'disappeared', and is seriously concerned for her
safety.

The checkpoint, in the Aguas Zarcas area near the town of Dorado,
was reportedly run by soldiers of the Alban Battalion, VII brigade.
They reportedly forced Johana Vargas Bustos and a young man off a
bus at 11:45am.

The soldiers reportedly lifted the checkpoint at 4pm, and set free
everyone they had detained. Subsequently unidentified gunmen
forced Johana and the young man into a car which drove off in the
direction of the neighboring municipality of Cubarral. They both
apparently tried to escape, but only the young man got away.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Alban Battalion is carrying out counter-insurgency operations
against armed opposition groups in Meta department, who are
fighting for control of the area.

During one of these operations, on 11 January, the battalion
reportedly entered a village in El Castillo municipality, and accused
the inhabitants of being guerrilla collaborators. In recent weeks army-
backed paramilitaries have reportedly stopped food-deliveries into the
municipality of El Castillo and accused drivers of delivering to the
guerrillas. In the past those accused of collaborating with guerrilla
groups by the security forces and their paramilitary allies have
frequently been victim of serious human rights violations by these
forces.

Paramilitary groups are reportedly maintaining a permanent blockade
over deliveries to El Castillo municipality, levying taxes on those
deliveries that they let through. Paramilitary groups are able to
operate despite the fact that the VII Brigade has control of the area.
Guerrilla forces are known to have killed people they consider to be
collaborating with their enemies.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly
as possible:
- expressing concern for the safety of Johana Vargas Bustos, who
has not been seen since she was detained at a checkpoint in El
Castillo municipality, Meta department, run the by Alban Battalion of
the VII Brigade, on 18 January, and urging the authorities to do
everything necessary to find out where she is;
- urging the authorities to order a full and impartial investigation into
her 'disappearance', to publish the results and bring those
responsible to justice;
- calling for full and impartial investigations into links between the
security forces and paramilitary groups operating in Meta, and for
members of the security forces responsible for cooperating and
operating in unison with these groups to be brought to justice;
- calling for decisive action to combat and dismantle paramilitary
groups, in line with repeated UN recommendations and government
commitments.

APPEALS TO:
Commander of the VII Brigade
Comandante de la VII Brigada
Coronel Francisco Pedraza Pelaez
Calle 37 No. 33B-33
Villavicencio, Meta, COLOMBIA
Salutation: Dear Colonel Pedraza Pelaez

Attorney General
Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio
Fiscal General de la Nacion, Fiscalia General de la Nacion
Apartado Aereo 29855, Diagonal 22B 52-01 (Ciudad Salite)
Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Telegram:      Fiscal General, Bogota, Colombia
Fax:           011 57 1 570 2000
Salutation:    Dear Dr. Osorio

National Advocate for the people
Sr. Eduardo Cifuentes Munoz
Defensor del Pueblo, Defensoria del Pueblo
Calle 55, No. 10-32/46 office 301
Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Telegram:      National Advocate, Bogota, Colombia
Fax:           011 57 1 640 0491
Salutation:    Dear Mr. Cifuentes Munoz

President of Colombia
Senor Presidente Andres Pastrana, Presidente de la Republica
Palacio de Narino, Carrera 8 No. 7-26
Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Telegrams:     President Pastrana, Bogota, Colombia
Telex:    44281 PALP CO
Fax:           011 57 1 566 20 71
Salutation:    Dear President Pastrana

COPIES TO:
The Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared
ASFADDES - Nacional
Asociacion de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos
AA 011446
Santafe de Bogota
COLOMBIA

Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno
Embassy of Colombia
2118 Leroy Pl. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 232 8643

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office
between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if
sending appeals after March 13, 2002.

----------------------------------
Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement
that promotes and defends human rights.

Please do not repost this appeal to any part of the Internet
without prior permission from Amnesty International. Thank you for
your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax:     303 258 7881

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