Human rights defender threatened and attacked

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 9 May 2017

On 7th May Maria Doris Rivera, a member of the human rights organisation DHOC and the governing board of the National Association of Peasant Farmer Reserve Zones, was threatened and attacked.

Two men, their faces covered with balaclavas, forced their way into her house, tying up those present and proceeding to cover their faces with blankets. Whilst threatening them and warning that Doris was "wanted by their boss", they stole their possessions, alongside the guns of Doris' security guards and punctured the tyres of their vehicles.

This attack comes after Doris and her security detail noted they were being followed. On 5th May, at an event during the visit of the UN Security Council to Colombia, Doris realised that she and her security guards were being observed by strangers. The next day she was followed as she walked through the town of Vistahermosa; later that afternoon her security scheme noted that strangers were hanging around and asking questions outside a family gathering attended by Doris.

The events have been reported to the Attorney General's Office. Doris is a victim of forced displacement and other attacks against herself and her family. Twice she has been exiled from Colombia for her safety.

The Colombian Ombudsman has listed Vistahermosa as an area at risk from paramilitary successor groups.

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