Washington, 30 November 2010 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Óscar Maussa, a Colombian campesino leader and beneficiary of precautionary measures granted by the IACHR on September 1, 2006.
The available information indicates that Óscar Maussa and other members of the Blanquicet Agricultural Workers’ Cooperative (COOTRAGROBLAN) were asserting their rights over lands from which they had been forcibly ejected by paramilitary groups between 1996 and 1998. It also indicates that in 2005, the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Chigorodó ordered the restitution of the “La Esperanza” farm to its COOTRAGROBLAN owners, but that the families did not return due to threats from the paramilitaries. In 2006, the IACHR granted precautionary measures to protect the life and physical integrity of four families from COOTRAGROBLAN, including the Maussa family, after they were threatened by the paramilitaries who seized their lands for having taken judicial action to recover their property. The information received by the IACHR indicates that in 2007, Óscar Maussa received new death threats and as a result had had to move again. According to publically available information, on November 24, 2010, Óscar Maussa’s body was found with the hands tied and showing signs of violence. (suite…)