|On Friday January 29th and Saturday January 30th, for the second time, the human rights defender María Eugenia Mosquera was threatened by Whatsapp while she was in Buenaventura with representatives from Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) Peace Presence, Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria, and Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective. She received Whatsapp messages to her personal cellphone from the number +57 317-694-3450 between 1:40 PM and 7:16 PM on Friday and another message on 12:33 PM Saturday.
On this occasion the assailant wrote, “look we need to talk with you, you know the problem you have with us,” later saying, “We are the ones who kill informant toads of those other people” and “That’s why I’m asking you if you’re with weird people.” María Eugenia immediately contacted the national police and the Public Prosecutor’s office and passed them information about the messages. Four hours after this, she received next texts, “look you want a problem, you’re giving my number to other people, so you want a problem with us.” The assailant then changed tactics to appear as if they were practicing extortion, “look we need a million pesos. . . or your family has a problem, don’t mess this up and take care of your family” and then “you’re talking about this silly thing, if you don’t want to help fine.”
On Saturday January 30th, they sent another message, “your family time is up, you messed up they won’t see you again.”
This is the second time in the last month that María Eugenia has received threats by whatsapp, the first from a different cellphone number. On the first occasion on January 7th of this year, they wrote, “don’t let yourself mess this up, you went and talked, that is unforgivable. For more, please see our earlier report, https://peacepresence.org/2021/01/10/threats-against-accompanier-and-human-rights-defender-maria-eugenia/
Maru, as she is known in human rights circles, belongs to the accompaniment team of FOR Peace Presence, as well as to the National Ethnic Coordination of Peace – CENPAZ; she is also a participate on the Peacebuilding and Nonviolence Committee of the Great Alliance CONVIDA 20. She is currently the legal representative of the Association of Communities Building Peace in Colombia- CONPAZCOL.
The new threats occurred while the human rights defender, together with delegates from the FOR Peace Presence, the Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria and the Witness For Peace Solidarity Collective from the United States, carried out an international accompaniment of ethnic processes in the urban area of Buenaventura, after returning from the Naya River.
- The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Police, after the evident absence of guarantees for an independent investigation in Buenaventura or Popayán, should transfer the process to the city of Bogotá. Likewise, we request that the results of the advances in the investigations that should have been opened on January 7, 2021, when the first threats were known, are disclosed.
- The Ministry of the Interior and the National Protection Unit should adopt the necessary material protection measures, after having carried out a risk analysis, to avoid further irreparable damage to the life and personal integrity of the human rights defender María Eugenia Mosquera Riascos.
- The Ombudsman’s Office should intervene, in accordance with its powers, in the development of investigations and the adoption of the pertinent measures for the protection of the human rights defender.
With deep concern,
FOR Peace Precense
Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective
Comunidades Construyendo Paz en Colombia, CONPAZCOL
Coordinación Étnica Nacional de Paz, CENPAZ
Alianza Global Convida20
Proyecto de la Guerra a la Paz, Iglesia Luterana de Colombia