We are writing from the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, the British organisation of lawyers, academics students, legal workers, trade union and labour affiliates, to express our support and solidarity with the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), a coalition of more than 200 Colombian human rights organisations, lawyers' associations and trade unions.
We understand that since the organisation's creation in 2005, MOVICE leaders and the members of its component organisations have been the continuous target of human rights abuses, including assassinations, death threats, false accusations, fabricated judicial cases and unjust imprisonment.
We also recognise that in the face of these intimidations, MOVICE members continue to carry out invaluable work documenting human rights abuses, supporting and defending the rights of victims, and speaking out against those who perpetrate the violations. Their work is integral to the defence and advancement of human rights in Colombia.
It appears that many of these abuses form part of a smear campaign aimed at delegitimising and debilitating their work. Furthermore, we understand that during the first year of President Santos' administration, from August 2010-July 2011 there was a 44% increase in the abuses against MOVICE members, making it more dangerous to carry out their work on the ground.
We have for several years worked closely with the UK NGO, Justice for Colombia and in particular supported their campaign for the release of political prisoners. We specifically campaigned for the release of Carmelo Agamez, former political prisoner and leader of MOVICE Sucre, and we are currently campaigning for the release of imprisoned MOVICE leader David Rabelo.
In response to the increasing threats, and in recognition of the importance of its members work, we have decided to adopt a wider campaign in solidarity with MOVICE, through which we hope to provide increased support for MOVICE members, according to the organisation's demands and priorities. Specifically, by raising awareness within our membership and through our affiliations to the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (EALDH) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and by calling on the Colombian authorities to fulfil MOVICE requests.