Today, the community of the village Pitalito learned of the order issued by the Mayor of Chimichagua, AMAURI VILLARREAL TORDECILLA, to evict the families which returned on 21 May 2013. This means that at any time security forces and the national police can proceed to enforce the order issued by the local leader.
The decision adopts as its own the arguments of JUAN MANUEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO CASTLE in requesting the eviction and makes no reference to the arguments put forward by the families, who are victims. This decision only takes into account the “evidence” provided by the palm oil landlord, while it sidesteps or ignores the evidence presented and requested by the Community.
The determination of the local leader clearly highlights the danger posed to the families of Pitalito; ignoring the rights of victims of enforced displacement to return to their land and the corresponding obligation of the authorities to ensure their welfare, dignity and provide the necessary care for their survival and security.
Again, like three years ago, the local authorities in Chimichagua and Curumaní turn their backs on the complaints and demands of communities, victims of dispossession, and accede to the claims of JUAN MANUEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO CASTLE. A few days ago we denounced that, in an unprecedented act, the Local human rights liaison of Curumaní – Mauritius RIVERS – dismissed the land protection process for the displaced population before INCODER citing the same arguments used by FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO. For its part, the Local human rights liaison of Chimichagua – CARLOS ALBERTO SERRANO – from the start of proceedings relating to the eviction openly stated his position in favour of the interests and claims of the landlord. Now Mayor Villarreal Tordecilla orders eviction.
The resolution issued by the Municipal Office casts doubts on the effectiveness of the policy of land restitution of the national government, making it clear that communities dispossessed of their lands do not have meaningful rights for their voluntary return, while local authorities are blinded to the serious problem of displacement and the multiple types of dispossession that have affected the country’s peasant population.
To complete the chain of coincidences, the returnee families have been informed that “los Guajiros” serving DEL CASTILLO FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO, are located in a nearby farm of the palm oil poducer and are waiting for the community to be removed in order to enter the land and “protect it”. Should this situation materialise, the community will be more vulnerable, given the history of aggression and torture carried out by these armed civilians against members of the community.
Due to the worrying situation affecting the community, we urgently call on the National and International community, social organizations and popular solidarity to support and continue accompanying these families and to demand that the authorities provide guarantees to prevent their revictimization.
July 8, 2013
LEGAL TEAM OF THE PEOPLE
WORKERS AND PEASANT FARMERS MOVEMENT OF CESAR
COLOMBIAN ASSOCIATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS -ACADEHUM-