The Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective was just informed about a serious threat against the life of Colombian Social Leader, Human Rights Defender, and partner Leider Valencia Tumbo.
On January 2 at 7:30 P.M. in Vereda Guatemala, Miranda, Cauca, a young man was forcibly stopped by two men on a motorcycle. The men in the motorcycle got off and pointed a gun at the young man’s head and asked him “if he was Leider”. When he responded no, the man with the gun asked the second man “is it him”. The second man responded “no” and they let the young man go.
The two men on the motorcycle were looking for Leider Valencia Tumbo, a celebrated social leader in Southwest Colombia and Human Rights defender. Valencia Tumbo is a municipal delegate member of various social organizations in the region including the union FENSUAGRO-CUT, Coordinadora Nacional de Cultivadores de Coca, Amapola y Marihuana – COCCAM (National Organization of Coca, Poppy, and Marijuana Growers), Consejo Asesor Territorial CAT del PNIS, Proceso de Unidad Popular de Suroccidente Colombiano – PUPSOC, and Marcha Patriotica among others.
Back in October 2019, he toured parts of the Midwestern United States as part of the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective’s annual speakers’ tour. During his time in the U.S., he met with university students and professors, civil society organizations, indigenous communities, and members of the United States Congress.
We join Colombian and international organizations in calling out the role that the militarization of the Colombian and United States governments plays in creating an environment in Colombia where social leaders like Leider Valencia are under constant threat by armed groups. In the year 2020, 310 social leaders and human rights defenders were assassinated in Colombia, including four people from the town of Miranda.
We call on our supporters and allies in the United States to contact their elected representatives, the Colombian government, and the United States embassy in Colombia to denounce the attacks against Leider Valencia and demand that the Colombian government provide the necessary guarantees and protections for Human Rights Defenders.
What You Can Do
Contact your representative and the embassy through Action Network
Call the numbers below using this script:
“Hello, My name is _____. I’m calling ____ to voice my concern and show solidarity with Colombian social leader Leider Valencia who was recently threatened in Miranda, Cauca. I’m asking that you urge the Colombian government to provide the necessary guarantees and protections for Leider Valencia and other Human Rights Defenders in Colombia. Thank you and have a great day!”
U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Ambassador Phillip Goldberg
(+57) (1) 275-2000
Colombian Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Francisco Santos
Representative Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia
(+57-1) 629 3636