Case Nos. 1765, 1777, 1780, 1781 and 1787 (Colombia)

Case 1765. June 27, 1973, denouncing violation of trade union rights and arbitrary treatment of the workers of the State television enterprise (INRAVISION).

In accordance with the decision adopted at the thirty-first session (October 1973), the Commission requested the Government of Colombia, in a note dated December 19, 1973, to provide the pertinent information, in accordance with Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure.

In a note dated February 1, 1974, the Government of Colombia replied and made comments, according to which the State television enterprise (INRAVISION) "is a public establishment and its personnel are public employees who are strictly forbidden to strike or to participate in or promote work stoppages as stipulated by Decree-Law No. 2400 of 1968. Although they are considered to be government workers, because they are attached to a public service, the work stoppage by them would be illegal".

The Commission began its examination of the case at the thirty-second session (April 1974), together with the comments made by the Government of Colombia and decided to inform the complainants of the pertinent facts of those comments.

This decision was implemented on April 26, 1974.

At the thirty-fourth session (October 1974), the Commission, taking into account the fact that the complainant had not made comments on the information provided by the Government of Colombia, decided to file case 1765, to take no further action, and to inform the parties of this decision. To that end, a communication was sent to the complainants on November 14, 1974, and to the Government of Colombia on December 18, 1974.

Case 1777. October 15, 1973, supplemented on October 25, 1973, denouncing several specific instances of violations of the following rights embodied in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man: right to life, to liberty and to personal security and integrity; to protection against arbitrary arrest; to due process; to education; and to religious freedom and education (Articles I, XXV, XVI, XII and III respectively).

In accordance with the decision adopted at the thirty-first session (October 1973), the Commission requested the Government of Colombia to provide the pertinent information, in accordance with Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure, in a note dated December 19, 1973, which was repeated on June 3, 1974.

In a note dated June 18, 1974, the Government of Colombia, basing itself on Article 51 of the Rules of Procedure, requested an 180 day extension of the time limit provided for in that article for the presentation of the information requested by the CIDH.

Since at that time the Commission was in recess, the then Chairman, Dr. Justino Jiménez de Aréchaga, granted that extension for a term of 120 days.

When the CIDH met for its thirty-fourth session (October 1974), the Government of Colombia requested, in a note dated October 23, 1974 (No. 503), an additional extension to the above-mentioned time limit up to 180 days, as originally requested in the above-mentioned note of June 18.

The Commission considered this request and, in view of the extensive information requested from the Government, decided to grant the additional extension requested, and therefore postponed the examination of this case until the expiry of the extension. This decision was made known to the Government of Colombia in a note dated November 13, 1974, and to the complainants on the same date.

Case 1780. October 14, 1973, denouncing various violations of the following rights embodied in the American Declaration: right to life, to liberty, to personal security and the integrity; to property, to work and to a fair wage, and to a fair trial (Articles I, XIV and XVIII), which had allegedly occurred in Colombia between 1972 and 1973 in the Departments of Sucre, Antioquia, Risaralda, Córdoba, Cesar, Magdalena, Huila, Bolívar, Huila, y Arauca.

In accordance with the decision adopted at the thirty-first session (October 1973), the Commission requested the Government of Colombia, in a note dated December 19, 1973, to provide the pertinent information and transmitted to it the pertinent parts of the complaint (Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure). This request was repeated on June 3, 1974.

As in case 1777, the Government of Colombia, in the note dated June 18 mentioned above, requested an extension for the provision of the information requested. The CIDH also granted that Government first an extension of 120 days and then, in virtue of the request of October 23, 1974, considered by the CIDH at its thirty-fourth session, an additional extension of 60 days for the provision of the information and postponed the examination of the case. This decisional in case 1777, was communicated to that Government in a note dated November 13, 1974 and to the complainants on the same date.

Case 1781. October 22, 1973, denouncing various specific violations of the following rights embodied in the American Declaration: right to life, to liberty, to personal security and the integrity, to protection against arbitrary arrest and to due process (Articles I, XXV and XXVI respectively).

In accordance with the decision taken at the thirty-first session (October 1973), the Commission transmitted to the Government of Colombia in a note dated December 19, 1973, the pertinent parts of the report and requested information (Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure). This request for information was repeated on Jude 3, 1974.

As in cases 1777 and 1780, the Commission granted the Government of Colombia, in accordance with the decision adopted at the thirty-fourth session (October 1974), an additions extension of 60 days for the presentation of the information requested and postponed the examination of the case.

Case 1787. October 22, 1973, denouncing various alleged violations of the right to life, to liberty, to personal security and integrity, to protection against arbitrary arrest and to due process (Articles I, XXV and XXVI of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man). Specifically the following were reported:
  1. That in late 1972 Mr. Jorgilio Guevara was murdered in a place known as "La Unión", Department of Valle. The murderer was the Municipal Mayor Alfonso Valencia, who was drunk and who had been following the murdered person for several hours. Mr. Guevara had been subject to inspections by the local police.
  2. That on September 11, 1972, agents of the National Police, in the company of the civilian Henrey Bernet , appeared at the "Yarumito" ranch in the Municipality of Anserma (Department of Valle) and arbitrarily arrested the farm worker Rafael Osorio Rendón. Some days afterwards his body was recovered from the Cauca River with two bullet wounds, a knife wound, bruises on the face, without teeth, and "with a stone tied to the neck, which weighed more than three (3) arrobas". After a public denunciation of the event, only one police officer was arrested. In this place, other murders have been committed and have not been investigated.
  3. That on June 3, 1973, in the municipality of El Dovio (Department of Valle), the secretary of the Asociación Municipal de Usuarios Campesinos, Mr. José de Jesús Giraldo was murdered. This murder took place during a strong campaign against farmers organizations in the area. No investigation was made.
  4. That on June 20, 1972, in La Unión (Department of Valle), a police inspector fired at 70 farm workers who were returning from work, wounding 25 of them as well as a child and causing a miscarriage as a result of the wounds. The "only crime the workers committed" was "to go by speaking and singing, which annoyed a landowner of the area who owns a chicken farm on the side of the road."
  5. That on July 2, 1972, the farm worker Emilio Hernández was murdered in Bolívar (Valle) when "promoting the farmers organization in the region." The persons alleged to be responsible are mentioned.
  6. That the settlers of the Isla de Salamanca (Barranquilla) had been ousted from their land holdings in 1968. This ouster was the reason for the pitiable conditions in which the members of the Sindicato de Cultivos de Arroz de la Costa Atlántica are living.
  7. That on August 5, 1972, the farm workers leader, Fidel Rivera de la Cruz, was murdered in Obando (Valle). His beheaded body was thrown into La Vieja River. Despite the clues and information supplied by farm workers of the Region, which implicated the local authorities in this event, no investigation has been made. His widow was dispossessed of the land which her husband had farmed for more than nine years.
  8. That the farmers who had cultivated the land of the Corregimiento de Granda (Department of Magdalena) for more than two and a half years are being harassed, for example, their huts and crops are being destroyed with "the connivance and protection of the local police."
  9. That in the same locality the farmer, José Gómez B, was arbitrarily arrested, his hut was burned without "his being given an opportunity of rescuing his personal effects." Then the local Judge, by name Corbacho, forced Gómez to sign a document in which he undertook to abandon the land without claiming compensation for improvements.
  10. That on August 21, 1972, the farmers, Aldemar and José Ramiro González, were murdered in La Unión (Valle) on the pretext that they had stolen eight (8) corn cobs. The persons responsible are named but they were freed by the action of the lawyers of the local landowners. As the farmers did not have sufficient funds to pay for lawyers, "the event remains in the most impunity" and
  11. That in the communities of Trujillo (Valle), Ansermanuevo (Valle), Tarso (Antioquia), La Unión (Valle), Toro (Valle), Yolombo (Antioquia), Luruaco (Atlántico), Anserva (Valle), Cartago (Valle), La Cumbre (Valle), Obando (Valle), El Aguila (Valle), El Peñal (Antioquia), San Juan de Arana (Meta), Otanche (Boyacá), Villalobos (Valle), San Luis (Tolima), Argelia (Valle), Campoalegre (Huila) and Fusagasuga (Cundinamarca) various criminal acts were committed between August 1972 and July 1973 including the murders of the following farmers´┐Ż leaders:

    Rodolfo Antonio Henao Bueno; Laura Rosa Escobar: Hector Favio Arenas; Henry Arenas; Uriel Ceballos; Joaquín Antonio Araque Serna; Rubén Dario Grajales; Bertuldo Patiño and Agustín Camayo.

    That also between the above-mentioned dates, the following events took place in those areas: arbitrary arrest of farmers, dispossession of lands cultivated under tenant contracts without just assessment of improvements, destruction of property, mistreatment of farmers, illegal dismissal of workers, or prevention of the formation of farmers associations.

    In a note dated January 9, 1974, the Commission requested the Government of Colombia to provide the pertinent information in accordance with Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure. In addition, in a letter dated January 11, 1974, the Commission informed the complainant of the action taken.

    At the thirty-second session (April 1974), the CIDH, noting that the Colombian Government had not supplied the information requested, decided to repeat the request that the information be sent to it. This decision was implemented on June 3, 1974.

    As in cases 1777, 1780 and 1781, the Government of Colombia requested, on June 18, 1974, an extension of the time limit provided for in Article 51 of the Rules of Procedure, for the provision of the pertinent information, which extension was granted by the CIDH for 120 days. However, during the course of the thirty-fourth session (October 1974) and in response to the request of the Government of Colombia, the Commission granted an additional extension of 60 days for the presentation of the pertinent information and therefore postponed its examination of the case. As in cases 1777, 1780 and 1781, this decision was made known to the Government of Colombia in a note dated November 13, 1974 and to the complainants on the same date.