Cablegate: Ambassador Visits Office of Colectivo de Abogados
UNCLAS BOGOTA 005307
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PTER CO
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR VISITS OFFICE OF COLECTIVO DE ABOGADOS
1. On June 1, Ambassador visited the offices of local
non-governmental organization, Lawyer's Collective
("Colectivo de Abogados"), to express USG support for the
work of the Colectivo and of human rights defenders in
Colombia. The Colectivo de Abogados "Jose Alvear Restrepo"
is a NGO committed to the protection of human rights. It is
a member of the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and has
consultative status at the Organization of American States
(OAS). For over 25 years, the organization has represented,
in national courts and in international supervisory bodies,
numerous victims of serious violations of human rights.
2. Ambassador met with Colectivo president Soraya Gutierrez,
Vice President Reinaldo Villalba, founder Eduardo Carreno and
3 other staff attorneys. The visit was prompted by the May
13 threat received by Soraya Gutierrez in which a package was
delivered to her home containing a dismembered doll and an
attached note that read, "You have a very pretty family, be
careful not to sacrifice it."
3. During the nearly two hour meeting, Ambassador and
Colectivo staff discussed recent threats against the Office
and its members, protection of human rights defenders, the
justice and peace law, torture, and human rights statistics.
In response to Ambassador's request for help identifying
recent instances of possible torture, Gutierrez said she
would provide Embassy with specific information the Colectivo
has gathered and would encourage new walk-ins to also talk to
the Embassy. Ambassador stressed while there is much more to
do with regard to the human rights situation, there have been
advances. Representatives of the Colectivo reiterated their
strong appreciation for the visit.