The armed conflict arrived in urban centres. After the dark years of terrorism created by the Medellín drug cartel, some districts in the city of Medellín were under guerrilla control, and others were controlled by paramilitary groups(the Bloque Metro and Bloque Cacique Nutibara who were part of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC). Human rights organisations continued to be the target of violent attacks, kidnappings, threats and killings.
The Association of Family Members of the Detained Disappeared (Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos – ASFADDES) was the first organisation in Colombia to unite family members of victims of forced disappearance, to make this crime visible and to call for a response, and was one of the organisations that requested PBI’s presence in Colombia. We accompanied the organisation’s national office in Bogotá and its regional offices in Barrancabermeja and Bucaramanga. In light of the situation of violence and repression facing the ASFADDES Medellín office, they also asked for PBI accompaniment.
PBI started accompanying the Medellín regional office of the FCSPP, as well as the Grassroots Training Institute (Instituto Popular de Capacitación – IPC) and the Corporation for Legal Freedom (Corporación Jurídica Libertad – CJL). PBI maintained a permanent presence in Medellín until 2011, a deeply important part of our history in the country.
**Video realized by Javier Bauluz and produced thanks to the support the International Cooperation Agency of Extremadura for the Development (AEXCID)
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Thank you for the work that you do protecting human rights defenders in Colombia.