Colombian human rights defender Ms Judith Maldonado Mojica has been threatened and assaulted during a violent attack by two armed men.
On 4 August 2010, Judith was attacked outside Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers Collective's (CCALCP) offices as she was about to get out of her car. She was assaulted by two armed men who had appeared at the scene on a motorbike. They beat her, shouted insults at her, and threatened that they would kill her. They eventually left, stealing her handbag which contained work documents and communication devices.
Judith is the Director of our partner organisation CCALCP, a human rights organisation which provides support, including legal assistance and accompaniment to farmers, displaced populations and trade unionists. Many of these groups are involved in struggles against various economic interests, including mining corporations, to retain their lands.
A history of threats
This latest incident follows previous attempts to threaten and intimate members of CCALCP and other human rights workers in the country. This is not the first time Judith has been subject to threats. On 12 March 2010, she received a message on her phone saying:
'We’re going to place a bomb... your people will be blamed for it... you got involved with the community and you will not enter there again... listen Judith, your organisation got involved and ruined the plans that the [we] had against them."
CCALCP reported this incident to the regional criminal investigation office of the national police. CCALCP has also learned that it has been subject to illegal wiretapping and communications interception by the Colombian intelligence service.
Campaign for change
Christian Aid is concerned for the physical and psychological well-being of Judith and the other staff members of CCALCP. We support an international campaign to defend human rights workers in Colombia.
Add your name to the campaign to bring sustained and coordinated pressure on the Colombian government to achieve a positive, lasting and significant change for the country's human rights defenders.
Visit: ColombiaDefenders.org >
Video: Human rights defenders under threat
Watch this testimony from David Ravelo about human rights workers at risk, and how our partner Peace Brigades International (PBI) and others are helping.