Colombia: Attempted assassination on Germán Graciano Posso, Legal Representative of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

Urgent Appeal
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COL 001 / 0118 / OBS 001
Assassination attempt
January 02, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Colombia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has received information about the assassination attempt against Mr. Germán Graciano Posso, Legal Representative of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.
According to the information received, during the morning of December 29, 2017, five armed men, presumably members of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC), arrived at the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. Once they reached the store where Mr. Germán Graciano Posso was, the men drew their weapons with the clear intention of shooting him. Several members of the community intervened to stop the assailants and in the struggle, Mr. Germán Graciano Posso and Luis Arley Jiménez, another member of the community, received non-fatal injuries. Three of the attackers managed to flee, while two were captured and delivered by the community to the Cuerpo Técnico de Investigaciones (CTI) on December 30. However, according to members from the Peace Community, the assailants were seen in freedom in the streets of the city of Apartadó; allegedly, these same assailants made threats against members of the Community.
According to the same information, in the middle of December, the Peace Community learned about the existence of a plan to assassinate Mr. Germán Graciano Posso, in a context of intensified paramilitary presence and action in the Antioquia region of Urabá, where the community is located, and an alarming increase in the number of murders of human rights defenders in Colombia. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in 2017, 105 human rights defenders have been killed because of their activities, most of them in places where the presence of the State is scarce.
On November 27 and 28, 2017, Mr. Germán Graciano Posso participated in the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, where he denounced the paramilitary incursions, the repeated death threats and the aggressions against the members of the Peace Community, as well as the role played in the past by the American multinational company Chiquita Brands International in the financing of paramilitarism. With regard to the latter, it should be recalled that in May 2017, the FIDH, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective Corporation (CCAJAR) and the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School, on behalf of the Community of Peace of San José de Apartadó, presented a communication to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, requesting the investigation of the role of executives of this company for their contributions to the commission of crimes against humanity.
The Observatory expresses its concern about this new attack against members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and requests that the Colombian authorities carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the facts in order to identify those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal, and apply the penalties provided by law.
The Observatory also urges the Colombian authorities to ensure compliance with what was agreed upon in Havana regarding the protection and guarantees for defenders and social leaders, and to ensure the adequate and effective functioning of the existing protection mechanisms.

Action requested:

Please write to the Colombian authorities urging them to:
 i. Carry out an immediate, independent, exhaustive, effective and impartial investigation into the facts described above, in order to identify those responsible and bring them before a competent, independent, fair and impartial tribunal to apply the penal sanctions provided by the law;
 ii. Immediately adopt the most appropriate protection measures to guarantee the life, security and physical and psychological integrity of all the members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, of the social leaders of the country, as well as of all the human rights defenders in Colombia;
 iii. Implement policies of recognition, including public recognition by the President of the Republic and other high officials, of the importance of the legitimate work carried out by human rights defenders;
 iv. Ensure the application of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with regard to articles 1, 5, and 12.2.
 v. In general, ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards ratified by Colombia.


S.E. Juan Manuel Santos, Presidente de la República. Fax: + 57 1 596 0631 / 566 2071

Sr. Germán Vargas Lleras, Vicepresidente de la República. Fax: +57 1 596 0651

Sr. Luis Carlos Villegas, Ministro de la Defensa. E-mail:,,

Sr. Rodrigo Rivera, Ministro del Interior. Email:,

Sr. Jorge Eduardo Londoño, Ministro de Justicia. Email:

Sr. Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Fiscal General de la Nación. Conmutador: 57(1) 570 20 00 - 57(1) 414 90 00.

Sra. Paula Gaviria Betancur, Consejera Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos. E-mail:

Sr. Diego Fernando Mora Arango, Director de la Unidad Nacional de Protección. Email:

Sr. Carlos Alfonso Negret Mosquera, Defensor del Pueblo. E-mail: /

Sra. Martha Isabel Castañeda Curvelo, Procuradora encargada General de la Nación. E-mail:;

Sra. Beatriz Londoño Soto, Misión Permanente de Colombia ante Naciones Unidas en Ginebra. E-mail:

S.E. Sr. Rodrigo Rivera Salazar, Jefe de Misión ante la Unión Europea. Email:,

Please also write to the Diplomatic Representations of Colombia in your respective country.


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