The local Ombudsman for Colombia’s Meta department said Thursday that the national government is not doing anything to protect sixteen spokesmen for displaced communities, following a rise in death threats against them.
The ombudsman, Eduardo Gonzalez Parra, said he had appealed to government aid agencies to send resources to protect the community leaders, but received no response and was forced to turn to the Ministry of the Interior and Justice for help.
Parra said there has already been one failed attempt to assassinate an elected spokesmen for the displaced people in the region.
Minister of the Interior and Justice Fabio Valencia denied the ombudsman’s allegations, and added that Gonzalez has been impolite towards three of the leaders that he is claiming to speak for, and “needs to change his attitude.”
The inspector general of Meta commented that about half of the municipalities in the department with displaced residents suffering from threats had complained of a lack of resources to implement security programs to protect the communities.
However, he said that other towns in the region with similar problems had been receiving resources for protection since November 2009.
Finally, the director of National Planning, Esteban Piedrahita, said that the resources being sent to the region for the protection of the displaced are a priority for the government.