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ACTON ALERT: Free Sarah And Tulia: Colombia Arrests Social Movement Leaders


April 26, 2018
Black Alliance for Peace & Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN

Sara Liliana Quinonez Valencia and her mother, Tulia Marys Valencia, have dedicated their lives to defending the collective ethnic rights of the black community in Alto Mira and Frontera in Colombia. On April 20, 2018, both were arrested by the government and accused of "rebellion." At the time of her arrest, Sara and her nuclear family were living in a state of forced displacement in Cali with protective measures from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. They should be freed.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackAllianceforPeace/posts/1472472859528801

ACTION ALERT: Free Sarah And Tulia Maris!
Afro-Colombia Social Movement Leaders Arrested

Black Alliance for Peace


URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED!
Human-rights and social-justice organizations in Colombia as well as the international community demand all charges be dropped and the state immediately release Afro-Colombian activists imprisoned on frivolous "terrorism" charges.

The ability to move swiftly to defend these two activists, Sara Quinonez and Tulia Maris Valencia, will impact the Pan-African struggle worldwide.

ACTION: You can take action in the following ways:
1. Send an email to Colombia's attorney general (NOTE: This option is no longer available: The state has disabled the email address).
2. Sign on to an international letter demanding the state drop charges and release the activists.
3. Write a message on Colombia's Facebook page, or
4. Tweet at the authorities.

ON FACEBOOK
5. You can also post the following Spanish message onto the agency's Facebook page or within the comments of their most recent post: Fiscalia Colombia

6. #SarayTuliaMarisLibres! Son mujeres Negras defensoras de la vida en los territorios ancestrales del #PuebloNegro del Consejo Comunitario Alto Mira y Frontera en Tumaco donde la vida se asedia cada minuto. #Justicia!

ON TWITTER
7. ESPANOL ---> .@FiscaliaCol #SarayTuliaMarisLibres! Son mujeres Negras defensoras de la vida en los territorios ancestrales del #PuebloNegro del Consejo Comunitario Alto Mira y Frontera en Tumaco donde la vida se asedia cada minuto. #Justicia! #SarayTuliaMarisLibres! @PGN_COL @CIDH @renacientes

8. ENGLISH ---> .@FiscaliaCol, #FreeSaraAndTuliaMaris! These Black women are defending the right to life in the ancestral territories of the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera in Tumaco. There, Blacks are relentlessly attacked. #Justicia! @PGN_COL @CIDH @Renacientes

BACKGROUND

On Friday, April 20, the Colombian government arrested around 30 people in southwestern Colombia, including Afro-Colombian leaders Sara Quinonez and her mother Tulia Maris Valencia based on accusations of narcotics trafficking and working with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.

However, both Quinonez and Valencia are members of the Black Communities' Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN) social movement and have risked their lives to defend the individual and collective rights of Afro-Colombians.

The arrests of Black activists are part of a systematic campaign to challenge the legitimacy of Afro-Colombian rights, and criminalizing the defense of human rights undermines the tenuous status of the Peace Accords. In 2012, another PCN activist Felix Banguero was arrested along with 27 others under similar circumstances for allegedly belonging to the FARC.

After spending more than two years in an overcrowded prison, Banguero was released based on insufficient evidence. He continues to maintain his innocence and remains committed to the struggle for Afro-Colombian rights.

The arrests of Quinonez and Valencia are particularly concerning. Quinonez currently has protective measures from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) due to death threats against her and the entire leadership of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera located in Tumaco on the Colombian border with Ecuador.

Quinonez continued to defend the rights of the Afro-Colombian Community Council, even after the high-profile murders of her fellow community leaders Genaro Garcia in 2016 and Jair Cortes in 2017.

Following the murders, Quinonez was forcibly displaced with her family, including her mother, Maris, to another part of the country where she received protection measures provided by Colombia's National Protection Unit (UNP).

The Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN) expresses deep concern regarding their arrests and joins the call of the Colombian social movements to drop the charges and release Quinonez and her mother, Tulia. "If our leaders (lideres y lideresas) stay in the territory, they are murdered -- if they leave the territory, they are criminalized."

Link to press release on Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network website.

For additional information, please contact:
Charo Mina Rojas, International Coordinator of the Black Communities' Process (PCN): charominarojas@gmail.com
Gimena Sanchez, Director for the Andes of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA): gsanchez@wola.org
Anthony Dest, Coordinating Committee of Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN): dest.anthony@gmail.com



Defending Human Rights is Not a Crime
Statement by the Black Communities' Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN)

VALLE DEL CAUCA, Cali, Colombia (April 20, 2018) -- On April 20, 2018 at 6:29 a.m., agents from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DIJIN) detained two human rights defenders and activists from the Black Communities' Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN) in Cali on the orders of the Attorney General's Office.

SARA LILIANA QUINONEZ VALENCIA and TULIA MARYS VALENCIA QUINONEZ are accused of rebellion and belonging to the National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, ELN) guerrilla group. Sara and her mother Tulia have dedicated their lives to defending the collective ethnic rights of the black community in Alto Mira and Frontera.

Sara Liliana Quinonez Valencia and Tulia Marys Valencia are from Tumaco, Narino. Sara once served as the President and later as the Vice President of the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera.

In 2015, Sara and her family were victims of forced displacement after she received threats against her life, safety, and wellbeing due to her work with the Community Council in defending and strengthening the collective ethnic rights of her community.

She was forcibly displaced a second time in October 2017 after the leadership of the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera was threatened and subsequently displaced. Two legal representatives of the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, along with other leaders from the community, have been murdered.

At the time of her arrest, Sara and her nuclear family were living in a state of forced displacement in Cali with protective measures from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, as well as a protection scheme from the Colombian National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Proteccion, UNP).

Ms. Tulia Marys Valencia, Sara’s mother, is also a well-known local leader for her work in support of the individual and collective rights of the Afro-Colombian community. She is part of the women’s group and local committees of the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera.

In light of this concerning situation of criminalization, persecution, stigmatization, and the violation of the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and justice, we alert the international and national human rights organizations, women’s organizations, and other sister organizations to advocate and take action in order to ensure that there are guarantees for their rights to integrity, their good names, protection, dignity, and legal defense.

If our leaders (lideres y lideresas) stay in the territory, they are murdered -- if they leave the territory, they are criminalized.

May peace not rob us of the little we were left by the war!


ACTION ALERT:
Libertad para Sara Quinonez y Tulia Marys Valencia


(April 25, 2018) -- Help free these Black activists and get fake charges hanging over their heads by the reactionary, US-supported Colombian government dropped.
Email Colombia Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez at contacto@fiscalia.gov.co with this message:

SUBJECT LINE: Libertad para Sara Quinonez y Tulia Marys Valencia

Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez,


I am writing to express my opposition to what appears to be unfair and politically motivated charges against human rights defenders from the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera.

Ms. Sara Quinonez and Ms. Tulia Marys Valencia are members of the Black Communities' Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN) social movement, and they have risked their lives to legitimately defend the individual and collective rights of Afro-Colombians.

For decades, their home -- the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera -- has been subjected to violence and dispossession at the hands of paramilitary groups, guerrilla groups, narcotics traffickers, soldiers, and multinational corporations.

Ms. Quinonez and Ms. Valencia have established trajectories as human rights defenders. Ms. Quinonez currently has protective measures from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) due to death threats against her and the entire leadership of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera.

Ms. Tulia Marys Valencia, Sara's mother, is also a well-known leader of the women's group and serves on local committees in the Afro-Colombian Community Council. They both continued to defend the rights of the Afro-Colombian Community Council, even after the high-profile murders of their fellow community leaders Genaro Garcia in 2016 and Jair Cortes in 2017.

Following the murders, Ms. Quinonez and Ms. Valencia were forcibly displaced with her family to another part of the country where she received protection measures provided by Colombia's National Protection Unit (UNP). Now, the government appears to be criminalizing their efforts to defend the constitutionally recognized collective and territorial rights of Afro-Colombian people.

I join the call of Colombian and international social movements:
Drop the baseless charges against them and immediately release Ms. Quinonez and Ms. Valencia.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

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