The following is a statement (in Spanish only) from the Beyond the Walls Campaign denouncing the decision by authorities to deny visits to prisoners at Giradot prison in Cundinamarca, Colombia. The excuse given for the punitive action is that there is a case of mumps among the prisoners. Beyond the Walls is demanding that the prisoner who is ill should be transfered to a local hospital and the rights of the other prisoners to visits be restored.
La Campa√Īa Traspasa los Muros transcribe y difunde DENUNCIA P√öBLICA emitida por los Prisioneros en la C√°rcel de Girardot y RESPALDA sus justaspeticiones
*LOS PRISIONEROS EN LA CARCEL DE GIRARDOT (CUNDINAMARCA) DENUNCIAMOS QUE:*
1.¬†¬†¬† El 29 de febrero de 2012, las directivas de la c√°rcel y de la EPS CAPRECOM ante la aparici√≥n de un caso de parotiditis (paperas), declar√≥ en cuarentena toda la c√°rcel, restringiendo el ingreso de visitas el pasado fin de semana.
2.¬†¬†¬† El d√≠a de hoy, marzo 8 de 2012, se nos inform√≥ que nuevamente para el pr√≥ximo fin de semana se decret√≥ el no ingreso de visitas bajo la excusa de estar frente a una epidemia de paperas, cuando se tiene conocimiento solo de un caso.
Consideramos que se nos viola nuestro derecho a la visita, ya que el tratamiento adecuado para el caso debi√≥ ser el traslado del prisionero enfermo al hospital de Girardot, donde se le brinde una atenci√≥n adecuada, pero por causa de la negligencia tanto de la direcci√≥n de la c√°rcel como de CAPRECOM se est√° tomando una medida extrema al ponernos en cuarentena a todos los prisioneros, medida que no ha sido extienda al personal de guardia y civil, quienes desarrollan sus actividades en normalidad, porque realmente no se est√° frente a una epidemia como tal.
A las entidades de vigilancia y de derechos humanos intervenir y tomar las medidas adecuadas a la situaci√≥n sin que se perjudique el derecho a nuestras visitas y por tanto se traslade al¬† prisionero enfermo al hospital local.
*Prisioneros C√°rcel de Girardot
Marzo 8 de 2012
The following is an item (in Spanish only) about a community of fishermen being evicted from their lands to make way for the El Quimbo dam in the municipality of Gigante, Huila province in Colombia. Journalist Bladimir Espitia Sanchez received death threats and was forced to go into hiding following the posting of a YouTube item showing police moving against the fishermen protesting the destruction of their homes. Read the press report here.
This interview with Liliany Obando was recorded by UK solidarity group Justice for Colombia shortly after her conditional release from prison. Her trial continues but her long outstanding right to home detention to look after her young family has finally been recognised. In this interview Liliany recognises the role of international solidarity in securing her rights. The struggle for the dropping of the politically-motivated charges against her and for the freedom of the 8,000 political prisoners in Colombia goes on!
The following is an interview (in Spanish) with political Prisoner Joaquin Perez Becerra
15 Febrero 2012
Colombia: Entrevista a Joaqu√≠n P√©rez Becerra, periodista v√≠ctima de montaje judicial Joaqu√≠n P√©rez Becerra, periodista v√≠ctima de montaje judicial en Colombia, pa√≠s en cuyas c√°rceles hay 8000 presos politicos 'Mi encierro, persecuci√≥n clara a la libre expresi√≥n': P√©rez Becerra.¬†
por Unai Arazandi, entrevista a Joaqu√≠n P√©rez Becerra
Bogot√° quiere callar los movimientos campesinos y sociales, dice el fundador de la agencia Anncol Narcotr√°fico, uno de los puntos que m√°s ponen nerviosos a los que tienen poder, se√Īala el periodista Los colombianos refugiados en Estocolmo d√°bamos otra visi√≥n del conflict Joaqu√≠n P√©rez Becerra, fundador de la Agencia de Noticias Nueva Colombia, al ser extraditado de Venezuela a Colombia¬†
The following is notice and agenda of a forum on the theme of "Colombia Behind Bars - In Search of a Path to Freedom and Peace" to be held in Bogot√• in Colombia 26 and 27, 2012
COLOMBIA BEHIND BARS FORUM: IN SEARCH OF A PATHWAY TO FREEDOM AND PEACE
The decades old social and armed conflict in our country finds its explanation in an unjust economic order (presently the world's third most unequal) and in a system of democracy with serious limitations and visible restrictions. These obscure and annul to the point of extermination whatever possibility there is for alternative politics that differ from the traditional parties. With excessive and well documented frequency social protest and differences of opinion are criminalized and confronted with the tactics of counterinsurgency.
The humanitarian crisis and systematic violations of human rights in the Colombian establishments of incarceration have been unknown by the national and international community, despite the Colombian Constitutional Court finding them to be in a State of Unconstitutional Conditions (Judgment T-153/98).
This situation fails to comply with the most basic national and international norms regarding the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty and it obscures the purpose of prisons within the constitutional framework of the Social State of Law.
To speak of peace without addressing the aforementioned conditions is to opt for the perpetuation of the conflict and the policies that benefit from them. It is to fail to acknowledge how the jails prolong these forms and mechanisms of exclusion, of violations of human rights and of International humanitarian law.
In contrast, diverse sectors of society have come promoting initiatives put in motion to generate an adequate and realistic understanding of the Colombian conflict. Their intention is to reach, demand and construct a real and durable peace. Such proposals arise from the recognition and the nature of the type of armed and political conflict that exists and the legal discussion of the belligerent character of the insurgency raised against the State. They also come from the effort to lessen the impacts of the conflict the war has for Colombians. These are indispensable elements toward the creation of the necessary conditions for a peace process that would be inclusive and effective and permit the achievement of a durable peace.
After the express inclusion by the Colombian government, within the text of the Law of the Victims and Restitution of Lands, of the recognition that the internal armed conflict exists, and in light of the legal tradition, there is no sustainable reason to deny the existence of belligerent forces and combatants nor of the Prisoners of War in the power of the State. The existence of the aforementioned is the logical consequence of the said armed conflict now expressly recognized by the State.
And so, there is concern for the conditions of life and the liberty of persons retained by the insurgency as there is concern for those deprived of their liberty by the Colombian State for political motives, whether those motives be for being combatants in the internal armed conflict, for belonging to sectors of the persecuted political opposition, or for living in zones especially afflicted by the conflict. These concerns constitute a task of first order for those of us who opt for humanism and peace--the spirit that has inspired movements like Colombians for Peace and spaces of solidarity with political prisoners.
The development of these initiatives has achieved, on one side, numerous unilateral liberations of captives on the part of the insurgency, and on the other, the growing visibility of the demands for the rights and fundamental guarantees of the political prisoners.
With the Colombia Behind Bars Forum: A Road to Freedom and Peace, and the constitution of the Commission of Observation of Human Rights in Colombian Prisons and of the Political Prisoners, it is intended to once more bring into national and international view the thousands of men and women deprived of liberty due to political motives in their different categories (Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Conscience, and Victims of Judicial Set-ups). This includes those who are incarcerated both within and without our borders, and who are denied day after day their minimum rights as human beings and as Colombians. They are denied likewise the designation as political actors and therefore the possibility of contributing to the reconciliation and the construction of a democratic peace.
Vigilance over the rights of the prisoners and political prisoners in the power of the State, besides being a humanitarian act, constitutes an irreplaceable step for understanding the character of the armed conflict and advancing the construction of an inclusive country, and breaking with the recognized political contradictions and the human condition.
‚ÄĘ To offer a context concerning the humanitarian situation and human rights in the Colombian establishments of incarceration, at the same time encouraging settings that make possible dignified situations in the prisons that conform to international and internal Colombian standards and legality.
‚ÄĘ To unmask the existence and conditions of thousands of prisoners and political prisoners (Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Conscience, and Victims of Judicial Set-ups) in Colombia, at the same time encouraging situations that make possible their freedom, within the Framework of humanitarian accords moving toward a political solution to the internal Colombian conflict.
‚ÄĘ To expose the main problems and violations to human rights committed against persons deprived of their liberty for political and social motives, including those held in Colombian as well as foreign prisons.
‚ÄĘ To encourage the consolidation of citizen's initiatives that focus their action in demands for the freedom of persons deprived of their liberty for political and social motives.
‚ÄĘ To generate processes that demand dignified conditions and respect for prisoner rights (on the part of the State).
The Forum Colombia Behind Bars: In Search of a Pathway to Freedom and Peace will take place on February 26 and 27, 2012, in the Auditorio Centro Cultural Gabriel Garc√≠a M√°rquez in the City of Bogot√°.
On the 26th, at 4:00p.m., the forum will be installed and presented, greetings from the different delegations will be received and the constitution will be announced of a Commission of Observation of Human Rights in Colombian Prisons and of the Political Prisoners.
The first session on the 27th will take place from 8:00a.m. until 1:00p.m., and will examine the context regarding the humanitarian situation and human rights in the Colombian penal establishments, and the situation of the political prisoners, focusing on emblematic cases and testimonies from family members.
The second session will take place from 2:00p.m. until 6:00p.m., exploring the different experiences throughout the world concerning the situations of political prisoners and in regards to humanitarian exchanges. The session will also make visible expressions that for around six years have nurtured the reactivation of a Movement for the dignified treatment and freedom of Colombia's political prisoners, as well as the proposals for the humanization of the prison situation.
The Forum will feature (1) an emcee, two (2) moderators, four (4) presenters who will provide elements of political discourse and analysis based on work experience with the political prisoners, and who will formulate questions, outline paths and bring together the conclusions of the Forum.
Throughout the Forum, greetings will be transmitted from the political prisoner collectives in the different Colombian prisons. Audio visual material will be presented concerning the most emblematic cases of rights violations.
We will count on the participation of organizations of human rights defenders, personalities from the political arena, parliamentarians, jurists and family members of both nationally and internationally held political prisoners, as well as invitees from different national and international government agencies charged to monitor the custody and protection of the human rights of those persons deprived of their liberty in Colombia.
Every block of addresses and presentations will have a space for questions and answers not to exceed 20 minutes, in accordance with the fixed program.
To close the Forum, cultural and artistic presentations will be made in favor of the dignity and the freedom of the Political Prisoners.
Installation and Opening
Dr. Piedad C√≥rdoba - Colombianos y Colombianas por la Paz (Colombians for Peace)
Greetings to the Forum
Audio collage with greetings from the Political Prisoner Collectives
Senator Gloria In√©s Ram√≠rez
Congressman Hernando Hern√°ndez Tapasco
Congressman Iv√°n Cepeda
Congresswoman √Āngela Mar√≠a Robledo.
Coalition for the Dignified Treatment of the Political Prisoners "Larga Vida a las Mariposas"
Fundaci√≥n Lazos de Dignidad (Links of Dignity Foundation)
Comit√© de Solidaridad con los Presos Pol√≠ticos¬† (Committee of Solidarity with the Political Prisoners)
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, Departamento de Derechos Humanos. (United Confederation of Workers, Department of Human Rights)
Corporaci√≥n Solidaridad Jur√≠dica (Judicial Solidarity Organization)
Mujeres del Mundo por la Paz (Women of the World for Peace)
Red Internacional de Solidaridad con los Prisioneros Pol√≠ticos Colombianos - INSPP¬† (International Network in Solidarity with the Colombian Political Prisoners)
Campa√Īa en el Cono Sur por la Libertad de las y los Prisioneros Pol√≠ticos (Southern Cone Campaign for the Freedom of the Political Prisoners)¬† (Argentina)
Justice For Colombia (England)
International Forum of Denmark
Patria es Solidaridad (Patriotism is Solidarity) (Venezuela)
Coordinaci√≥n estatal por la Paz y la defensa de los derechos humanos en Colombia (State Coordination for Peace and the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia)
Justicia por Colombia (Justice for Colombia)¬† (Spain)
Komite Internazionalistak (Internationalist Committee)
International Prison Observatory
Installation of the "International Commission of Observation of Human Rights in Colombian Prisons and of the Political Prisoners"
Mujeres Gestoras del Mundo por la Paz (Women's Coordination Committee for World Peace)
8:30 ‚Äď 9:00
Reading of Program
Panel 1: Context concerting the humanitarian situation and human rights in Colombian detention centers.
Conditions of the Colombian prisoners in the light of human rights and international law.
University of the Andes Public Interest Group
Reformation of the justice system and constitutional framework for peace
Juan Carlos Esguerra - Colombian Minister of Justice and Law
State of compliance with Judgment T-153/98 (unconstitutional state of affairs in the prisons)
Ex - Magistrate of the Constitutional Court
Questions and Answers
Panel 2: Discourses concerning the Situation of the Political Prisoners in Colombia
Present Situation of the Political Prisoners in Colombia
Gustavo Gallardo,¬† Lawyer and President of Fundaci√≥n Lazos de Dignidad (Links of Dignity Foundation)
Violation of judicial guarantees, fundamental rights and the appllication of penal law for enemies to the Political Prisoners
Leonardo Jaimes, Lawyer, member of the Committee in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners
Questions and Answers
Panel 3: Emblematic Cases of rights violations of the political prisoners and their families.
Muerte por negligencia medica
Familiares de Jos√© Albeiro Manjarr√©s Cupitre
Disappearance, torture and Assassination
Family Members of Alida Teresa Arzuaga
Torture, cruel and degrading treatment
Family Members of Diomedes Meneses Carvajalino
Persecution and assassination of family members
Family Members of Carlos Iv√°n Pe√Īa Orjuela
Judicial frame-ups, degrading inspections and discrimination
Family Members of Liliany Patricia Obando Villota
Judicial frame-ups and transfers far from family
Family Members of Wilfredo D√≠az Berm√ļdez
Conditions of detention for political detainees and their children
Adela P√©rez Aguirre, ex political prisoner of Bogot√° women's prison
Extradition of rebels to ¬†U.S.
Family members of Sonia and Simon Trinidad
Video regarding the reality of jails and prisons and emblematic cases of human rights violations and the Political Prisoners.¬† Cases: Liliany Obando (Bogot√°), Jairo Fuentes (Girardot), Fredy Julian Cortes (Girardot), David Ravelo Crespo (Bucaramanga), Marinelly Hernandez (Medellin), Alba Luz Villareal ¬†(Medellin), Doris Suarez Guzm√°n (Cali), Viviana Valencia S√°nchez (Cali), Oscar Hurtado Reina (Cali), Movice, Sinaltrainal, Campesinos de Tona, Daniel ‚Äď UIS (Santander), Estudiantes de la Feu, Wilfredo D√≠az Berm√ļdez (Algeciras), Diomedes Meneses Carvajalino (Santander),
Panel 4: International experiences regarding humanitarian exchanges, the political prisoner situation and foreign views of Colombia's internal conflict
Elements of international law present in the treatment of the Colombian conflict and in the situation of the political prisoners.
Enrique Santiago, Spanish lawyer
Situation of the prisoners and political prisoners in Palestine, contritution in relations to the humanitarian exchange and the necessity for international accompaniament.
Legal and Socio-political questions in the midst of a peace process and the role of family members and friends of prisoners
Jone Goirizelaia, Lawyer from Spain / Euskadi.
Present situation of the case brought against Ricardo Palmera in the U.S.
Bob Tucker - U.S. Lawyer for Ricardo Palmera "Sim√≥n Trinidad"
Experiences of campaigns in the world for the rights and freedom of political prisoners.
Robert Martin Briton (Australia)
Rosa Aurora Freijanes (Cuba).
La Voz del Amate (M√©xico)
Amaryllis Hilao-Enriquez (Philippines)
Carlos Alberto Ruiz (Sahara)
Questions and Answers
Panel 5: Experiencies in mobilizations for the dignity and freedom of the political prisoners and proposals of humanization of the penal situation.l
Reactivation for the Movement for the Dignified Treatment and Freedom of the Colombian Political Prisoners
Coalici√≥n Larga Vida a las Mariposasl (Long Live the Mariposas Coalition)l
Situation of the Colombian Political Prisoners in light of International Law
Graciela Dubeck, International Prison Observatory
Preguntas y respuestas
Moderators and Committee of Presenters
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Geneva Conventions I, II, III and IV (1949), Minimum Regulations for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955), International Pact for Civil and Political Rights (1966), Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), American Convention on Human Rights (1969), Additional Protocol I and II to the Geneva Conventions (1977), Code of Conduct for Functionaries Charged with Fulfilling the Law (1979), Convention Against the Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Penalties (1984), Set of Principles for the Protection of All the Persons Submitted to Whatever For of Detentions or Prison (1988), Basic Principles for the Treatment of Inmates (1990), Rules of the United Nations for the Protection of Minors Deprived of Liberty (1990), Principles and Good Practices Concerning the Protections of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas (2008), Political Constitution of Colombia (1991), Penal Code (Law 65 of 1993).
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Prisoner of War: Someone who has taken up arms and makes up part of an insurgent group, with the goal of taking power and overthrowing the current constitutional and legal regime, and who because of this has been deprived of liberty by his or her adversary. Prisoner of Conscience: Someone who has exercised the right of political opposition to the current regime or government, individually or collectively, in his or her quality as a member of a social, neighborhood, popular, labor, political, student, peasant, human rights, indigenous or Afro-descendent organization, among others, and for this reason has been deprived of liberty by those s/he opposes. Victim of Judicial Set-Up: Someone who has suffered being labeled as a supporter of the insurgency for no other reason than that s/he inhabits a zone that is heavily affected by the internal armed conflict, where in order to survive s/he has had to interact with the different actors of the conflict and for this reason has been detained, and whose incarceration is portrayed as a positive result of counter-insurgency policies and plans, and submitted to a penal process on the basis of false, manipulated or insufficient evidence.