This project documents the chronic violation of human rights in Colombia by focusing on the growing phenomenon of death threats made against civilians. Right-wing paramilitary groups, that have been historically linked to state security forces, are the authors of the majority of politically – motivated death threats. Yet left-wing guerrillas are also responsible for using, and carrying out, threats as a means to force civilians to comply with their aims or to abandon their homes.
Not only are civilians the victims of formal threats against their persons and family members, but even whole communities are warned through leaflets that they are targeted for “social cleansing” if they do not obey the orders of shadowy killers acting on behalf of official security forces, powerful politicians, or guerrilla commanders. In recent months, an epidemic of death threats has reached all corners of the country, with coordinated campaigns in rural areas and cities alike sowing fear among civilians and causing entire towns to join the ranks of the more than two million internally displaced persons in Colombia.
A reportage that focuses on the day-to-day experience of Colombians who are under threat is a powerful way to document the grave state of human rights in Colombia, while honoring the bravery of the many Colombians who struggle to create a democratic society at great risk to their lives.
Threatened aims to illustrate and complement the investigative work that the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch has been conducting around these issues in Colombia.