Press Call – UPDATE – Journalist intimidation Colombia and Europe now 22/06

MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Isabelle Durant invites you to a press conference on the activities of DAS (the Colombian secret service) in Columbia and Europe. Journalists in Colombia face continued threats, harassment, kidnap and even murder if they dare to criticise the activities of the Colombian-government backed paramilitaries. Join us to hear more.

Venue: European Parliament, Press Room, PHS, OA50.
Date: 22rd June 2010, 14.00

Journalists intimidated – defenders of human rights persecuted
The government of Colombia has an abysmal human-rights record. Its Department of Administrative Security (DAS) operates a continued programme of threats, harassment and even murder of any journalists who dare to be critical of its policies or actions.

In early 2009, following a report by the magazine Semana, the Colombian justice system began to reveal the scale of operations established by DAS against anyone critical of the official government position. The main targets – defenders of human rights, journalists, judges and members of the political opposition.

More recently, a Colombian judge revealed the existence of “Operation Europa”, an attempt by DAS to discredit and undermine, “le système juridique européen, la Sous-commission des droits de l’homme du Parlement Européen et le Bureau de la Haute-commissaire aux Droits de l’Homme des Nations-Unies,” as well as numerous NGOs and European and Colombian individuals in Europe.

In Colombia, the case of Claudia Julieta Duque in particular is extremely disturbing. A researcher and journalist covering human-rights issues in Colombia, she is one of the main victims of DAS. Since she began investigating the murder of another journalist, Jaime Garzón, in 1999, DAS has mounted a continuing campaign of threats and harassment against her.

Thanks to her 22 years of documenting the activities of right-wing paramilitary groups, she has been a victim of kidnapping attempts, threats to kidnap and torture her daughter, illegal tapping of telephones, mobile phones and emails, persecution, and specific instructions on how to carry out “offensive intelligence” against her.

Programme

  • Introduction – MEP Isabelle Durant
  • Claudia Julieta Duque – The operation of the DAS in Colombia and Europe
  • Patricia Verbauwhede, representing Broederlijk Delen, for victims of DAS espionage in Europe.
  • Luis-Guillermo Perez, Secretary General of the Fédération internationale des Droits de l’Homme.

Interpretation into English, French and Spanish.

The government of Colombia is presently in the process of negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. Should this FTA be allowed to proceed? Or is the EU better served by trade with countries possessing a superior human-rights record?

More details from Pamela Moriniere at the IFJ – pamela.moriniere@ifj.org or 02 235 2216.

Book your place with Gaby Küppers, Greens/EFA Group in the EP, via gabriele.kueppers@europarl.europa.eu or 02-284 3392

To book, please email your name, address, name of the organisation you represent, email and telephone number, in order to facilitate entry at the European Parliament.

With the support of: ACV-CSC, Broederlijk Delen, FIDH, Grupo Sur, IFJ, NUJ Brussels, OIDHACO, Oxfam Solidarity, RSF.