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Colombia: Andrew Anderson meets human rights defender Jorge Molano
My first thought was that Jorge Molano's bodyguard was not big or ugly enough, but fortunately Jorge has confidence in him. I met Jorge, one of Colombia's most prominent human rights lawyers, in the offices of one of the NGOs he works with. It was the day after he had received the latest threats to his life.
Jorge has been provided with a bodyguard, a driver and a car by the Colombian authorities since March, under their protection program for human rights defenders at risk. Unfortunately the level of threats he is facing has increased. He is involved in taking a number of landmark human rights cases that touch on very powerful interests. In a couple of the cases members of the military are already in detention and a number of Generals and powerful political figures are implicated.
It is clear as we meet in Bogota that his friends and colleagues are very worried for him and believe that that there are active plans to kill him. They are trying to press the Government to provide a bodyguard also at night time, to provide CCTV at his home and office, and reinforced steel doors.
Jorge speaks with a quiet authority of his determination to continue trying to bring the perpetrators of killings and disappearances to justice. His courage is inspirational and it is an honour to spend some time with him. Front Line will provide some practical support and will seek to mobilise increased international concern on his case. As we leave the office I notice the bodyguard is looking worried.