Protecting lives in Colombia


The Breaking Down the Walls Campaign and the Ties of Dignity Foundation send this URGENT ACTION so that the Colombian government will guarantee human dignity and the right to life, integrity and personal security of political prisoner NORBEY TRIVIÑO, according to the following:


1. On April 29, 2012, around noon, NORBEY TRIVIÑO, who is being held in Patio 7 of La Dorada (Caldas) Maximum Security Prison, was a victim of physical aggression with a weapon by other inmates, resulting in serious injuries.

2. The health status of the victim is unknown, as are the reasons for having a weapon in a maximum security facility.


This aggressive act is the responsibility of the Colombian State, the head of the National Penitentiary Institute (INPEC), and the national government, for breaching international humanitarian law that requires all states to ensure political prisoners are held in special institutions (apart from the general prison population).

INPEC denies the existence of political prisoners, at the direction of the national government, which obligates them to be held alongside prisoners associated with paramilitarism and common crimes, demonstrating the absence of guarantees to protect the rights to life and personal security of political prisoners.

At the same time, the presence of arms inside prisons is forbidden and is the responsibility of INPEC, particularly in maximum security prisons, where prisoners’ rights are restricted. In this case, the application of restrictions was insufficient to protect the life and personal security of political prisoner NORBEY TRIVIÑO.


1. The Colombian State must establish special institutions for the retention of political prisoners, according to the norms of humanitarian and human rights law.

2. The Public Defender and Attorney General of Colombia must urgently verify the state of health of political prisoner NORBEY TRIVIÑO and demand that INPEC guarantee his human dignity and rights to life, integrity and personal security.

3. Investigations must be undertaken to determine responsibility, and punish the prisoners responsible for the attack, as well as the guards that may have let it happen.


We ask all media, national and international human rights organizations, social movements and those in solidarity to spread this urgent action and support our demands by sending letters to the following Colombian authorities:

Presidente de la República de Colombia
Carrera 8 No. 7 -26 Palacio de Nariño Bogotá
Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71

Vicepresidente de la República de Colombia
Carrera 8 No.7-57 Bogotá D.C.
Teléfonos (57 1) 444 2120 – 444 2122
Fax: (57 1) 596 0651

Ministro de Justicia y del Derecho de Colombia
Carrera 9a. No. 14-10 – Bogotá, D.C.
PBX (+57) 444 31 00 Ext. 1820

Procurador General de la Nación
Cra. 5 No.15 – 80F Bogotá D.C.

Defensor del Pueblo
Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá
Fax: (+571) 640.04.91


As you know Lila
ny Obando who visited Victoria twice has been released from prison. But she is still on trial & is in great danger. PLEASE READ THIS STATEMENT & THEN USE THE SAMPLE LETTER which follows (sent to us by a UK support group) AS A GUIDE TO WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER TO THE COLOMBIAN AMBASSADOR IN OTTAWA.

At 8.30pm on 1st March 2012, Liliany Obando, Colombian trade unionist, academic and human rights defender, was freed after being detained for more than 3 years and 6 months in Buen Pastor Prison, Bogota. Liliany had been held in “preventative detention” since 8th August 2008 falsely accused of“rebellion” on the basis of evidence ruled inadmissible in a separate case. Her legal process suffered severe delays incurred by the authorities and the Colombian legal period for pretrial detention expired in April last year. Ms. Obando’s legal team repeatedly filed for her release on this basis, and on 29th February 2012, the Superior Tribunal of Bogota finally upheld their appeal. Despite her release, the spurious legal case against Ms. Obando continues. Her security situation also remains of utmost concern, as she has received several threatening phone calls, has been under constant surveillance by unidentified men and continues to be branded a terrorist. In particular, an El Tiempo newspaper article on 1st March describes her as “Liliany Obando of the FARC”, an allegation which puts her life in grave danger. Twenty nine trade unionists were assassinated in Colombia in 2011 and six so  far this year – help us make sure it does not happen again.

TAKE URGENT ACTION TO PROTECT LILIANY OBANDO, Colombian trade unionist and former political prisoner.

Write to: H.E.  Ambassador Clemencia Forero-Ucros, #1002,  360 Albert St. Ottawa, ON. K1R 7X7        T:613 230-3760                                                      Fax: 613 230-4416                              E:


Dear Ambassador,

I am writing to ask for the  urgent protection of Ms. Liliany Obando, Colombian academic, trade unionist and human rights defender and to an end to the false accusations against her.

Ms. Obando was detained for more than 3 years and 6 months in Buen Pastor Prison Bogota, without being convicted of any crime. On 1st March she was released from prison, however a spurious legal process continues and her security situation remains of utmost concern: she has received death threats,has been under constant surveillance by unidentified men and continues to be branded a terrorist. In particular, an El Tiempo newspaper article on 1st March describes her as “Liliany Obando of the FARC”, an allegation which puts her life in danger. Former political prisoners have been assassinated in recent years so I ask you to ensure she is protected urgently.

Colombia remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist, with 29 assassinated in 2011 and six so far this year. Your government claims to be committed to improving human rights. If this is so, at the very least the state must provide measures for Liliany and other human rights defenders and trade unionists whose lives are in danger. The Colombian authorities must also put an end to the false legal cases and imprisonment.

I look forward to progress in this matter,

Yours sincerely,








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