The Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) is an autonomous non-governmental organisation comprised of citizens of the Magdalena Medio region who represent distinct sectors of civil society.
CREDHOS was founded in 1987 to promote, defend, and protect human rights, democracy, and international humanitarian law (IHL). The organisation has several objectives, among them to promote mutual understanding, tolerance, and a peaceful coexistence dedicated to supporting the civilian population and vulnerable sectors of society.
“There have been many deaths and forced disappearances in Barrancabermeja and the Magdalena Medio region. CREDHOS accompanies the families of victims in order to seek compensation for damages, continue in their search for the truth, and see that justice is done”. David Ravelo Crespo
CREDHOS provides assistance to the local population and other social organisations in a range of areas, including: human rights training; researching, documenting and reporting on violations of human rights and IHL by armed actors in the region; legal and technical assistance to victims; advocacy; awareness-raising; and collaborating with regional, national and international networks in the promotion of a more peaceful, egalitarian, and just society.
As a result of this work, the organisation’s members have faced numerous death threats, as well as public stagmatisation and defamation and surveillance. On 5 December 2012, a prominent member of CREDHOS, David Ravelo Crespo, was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison following 26 months in detention awaiting trial. His conviction for murder followed a process which international human rights organisations and lawyers have criticised for being full of irregularities.
PBI has accompanied CREDHOS since 1994. The CREDHOS Board of Directors was awarded precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in 2000.
In 2009, the Municipal Council of Barrancabermeja, the Mayor of Barrancabermeja and the Department Assembly of Santander publicly recognised CREDHOS for their work, and the Dioceses of Barrancabermeja presented the San Pedro Claver award to David Ravelo and CREDHOS in recognition of their work.
David Ravelo: A year in prison (video)