Colombia: More than 150 human rights defenders have been murdered in nine months

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ColombiaMore than 150 human rights defenders were killed in nine months

According to NGOs such as Global Witness, the country is one of the most dangerous for activists.

32 of the 157 victims were tribal activists.

AFP

More than 150 human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia in the first nine months of the year, more than recorded during the same period in 2021, the ombudsman’s office announced on Friday. Between January and September, the state body that monitors respect for human rights recorded 157 killings of activists, up from 109 recorded in the first three quarters of the previous year.

In a country where 4.4% of the 50 million people belong to the tribal population, thirty-two tribes are among these victims.

A very dangerous country for enthusiasts

Since the peace deal with the FARC guerrillas in 2016, assassinations of leaders of ethnic communities have continued. Non-governmental organizations say active guerrillas, drug traffickers and state agents are behind the killings.

“I appeal once again to illegal armed groups to respect the lives and integrity of leaders (of ethnic minority communities, editor’s note) and human rights defenders, who play a fundamental role in guaranteeing the rights of communities and strengthening democracy in the regions,” said mediator Carlos Camargo.

In areas with high homicide rates, armed gangs compete for control of drug crops, and Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine. According to NGOs such as Global Witness, the country is one of the most dangerous for activists, ranking second in the number of killings of environmentalists (33) in its 2021 report. The new Colombian president, Gustavo Pedro (left), wants to get through negotiations to disarm the rebels and bring drug traffickers to justice.

(AFP)

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