145 human rights defenders killed in 2021

At least 145 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2021, a drop from the previous year, but confirms a resurgence of violence in the Andean country despite the 2016 peace deal, according to the ombudsman’s office.

“There were 145 homicides of social leaders or human rights defenders last year,” the independent public authority said in a press release.

In 2020, 182 murders were recorded.

According to the Ombudsman, 32 representatives of indigenous tribes, 16 agro-unionists and seven trade unionists were among the victims of 2021.

“We reject these acts, which were committed mainly by illegal armed groups,” said ombudsman Carlos Camargo, without elaborating on the alleged perpetrators of the attacks.

Following the signing of the peace agreement between the then government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the killings of social leaders have been numerous and recurring.

Authorities and social organizations say the killings are being carried out by various armed groups operating in the country: insurgents of the former FARC rebels rejecting the 2016 peace deal, the National Liberation Army (ELN) – officially the latest rebel group to continue struggle in the country – as well as gangs of criminals, which in many cases were formed by former members of far-right paramilitary organizations.

Three counties – Antioch, Cauca, Valle del Cauca – are particularly affected by drug trafficking.

Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for activists, environmentalists, or workers’ rights activists. For two years in a row, in 2019 and 2020, the Andean country was characterized as the most dangerous in the world for these activists by the non-governmental organization Global Witness (65 dead in 2020).

Right-wing President Ivan Duque talks about murders committed by drug-trafficking gangs, including guerrillas.

Colombia, the world’s number one cocaine producer, is thought to be facing the worst resurgence of violence since the 2016 peace deal.

Source: Zougla.gr by www.zougla.gr.

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