According to the count, 48 more crimes were reported than in the same period in 2021.
The Colombian Ombudsman’s Office reported this Friday a total of 157 human rights defenders murdered between January and September of this year, which indicates an increase of 48 victims compared to the same period in 2021.
In a new report, the Ombudsman released the results of the third quarter 2022 of the Human Rights Observatory, which warns about the role of these figures in strengthening democracy and building peace in the country.
The document details that the majority of the murdered people are community leaders, while there are 32 indigenous people, in a country in which 4.4% of the 50 million inhabitants belong to an original people. Another 26 crimes were of community spokesmen, and in another 14 cases they were peasants.
2/5 Ombudsman Carlos Camargo reiterated his concern about the risk scenarios identified against social leaders and human rights defenders in the territories, who have a very important role in peacebuilding.
— Ombudsman (@DefensoriaCol) October 28, 2022
In the same period last year, the social leaders assassinated were 109.
“I make a new call to the illegal armed groups to respect the life and integrity of the leaders and human rights defenders; they play a fundamental role in guaranteeing the rights of communities and strengthening democracy in the regions“, asked the ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, during the presentation of the report.
Since the signing of peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, now converted into a legal political party, in 2016, homicides against community leaders have been repeated. Social and human rights organizations usually blame guerrillas who did not adhere to the agreement, drug-trafficking groups, and state and para-state agents for these deaths.
Current Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who came to power last August, began negotiations with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) with a view to achieving “complete peace” in the country, one of the main promises of his campaign.