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Continued AUC Threats To Colombian Uni Community

Continued AUC Threats Against The Colombian University Community:

In a letter dated July 2004 sent to the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Pedagogy, Dr. Oscar Armando Ibarra Russi by the AUC, the paramilitary organisation threatens to disappear various student leaders and members of the JUCO if they return to university for the second semester of academic year 2004/2005.

07.10.2004 [REINICIAR] The Organisation for the defence of Human Rights REINICIAR and participating organisations in the National and International Human Rights Campaign “So that the University can live in Colombia” denounce before the National and International Community the death threats made against student members of the JUCO (Colombian Communist Youth) at the National University of Pedagogy by the paramilitary organisation the AUC (United Self Defence Forces of Colombia).

We present this information with the objective of activating early warning systems in accordance with the legal and constitutional mandate so as to provide the necessary measures to protect the life, personal integrity and dignity of the students.

Events:

In a letter dated July 2004 sent to the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Pedagogy, Dr. Oscar Armando Ibarra Russi by the AUC, the paramilitary organisation threatens to disappear various student leaders and members of the JUCO if they return to university for the second semester of academic year 2004/2005.

The letter is signed by Ramiro Vanoy in the name of the United Self defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), the paramilitary organisation currently in dialogue with the government regarding their demobilization.

The accusation made in the letter is that Social Sciences student Lizeth Cuervo, Electronics student Jairo Tuta and Chemistry student Jenny Parra pertain to “subversive groups”. The group demands that the academic authorities intervene in the matter regarding the threatened student’s re-registration for the second semester at the University so as not to “end up losing more lives in Colombia”.

Antecedents:

On April 30th 2004 the National University of Pedagogy received a letter by a group calling itself the “Student Anti-Terrorist Squadron”. The letter named various student leaders and groups including the Colombian Communist Youth (JUCO), the National University Federation (FUN) and the Movement for the Defence of the People (MODEP). Student representatives to the Academic Council for Students, Angel and Yamile Garzon and student representatives to the Supreme Council of the University Claudia Florez, Johan Angulo and Jesus Mejia are singled out by the letter and are directly threatened.

These threats seek not only scare the individuals themselves but to destabilize the participatory democratic process in the University. Indeed, every time threats have appeared it has been during the elections to the Student Councils and the Supreme Council of the University.

Regarding the above we reaffirm that the stated threats are not isolated incidents but form part of an ongoing sequence of threats against leftwing student leaders in Colombia. This severity of this persecution was made clear a report sent by REINCIAR in March 2004 to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) which details the assassinations of 11 student leaders in 2003 and the forced displacement of almost 50.

In light of these threats and deaths we urgently request that the Attorney General:

Call a meeting with the Vice president of the Republic of Colombia Dr. Francisco Santos attended by Vice Chancellor of the National University of Pedagogy Dr. Oscar Armado Ibarra and student representatives to bring to light the situation of threats being registered at the University.

Adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and safety of the students who are being threatened.

Investigate and bring to justice the material and intellectual authors of these crimes.

And that Government provide real guarantees for the free development of academic activities and democratic participation within the University Community.

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