Alliance for Global Justice Statement on the Recent and Ongoing Massacres of Colombian Social Leaders and Ex-Insurgents
The Alliance for Global Justice is extremely concerned with the recent increase of violence in Colombia. In our June 16, 2020 action, we asked you to sign a letter asking Members of the USA Congress to act immediately to protect the lives of social leaders, peasants, indigenous and Afro Colombians victims of the violence generated by the illegal arm forces present in their communities. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, the human rights situation in Colombia has worsened to disturbing levels.
In 2020, there have been 43 massacres with most of the victims in the Colombia states of Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, Arauca, and Santander del Norte. A considerable increase happened in August, after the Colombia Supreme Court ordered the house arrest of the Ex-President Uribe. During this month, there have been six massacres, with a total of 24 victims. Among the victims are six children, three indigenous Awa of the Pialapi Pueblo Viejo, in Nariño, and seven young men under 26 years of age.
These massacres are adding to the difficult situation in Colombia, the most dangerous country in the world for human rights defenders. Since 2018, social leaders, environmental activists, and social activists totaling 183 have been killed. During the same period, 222 ex-combat signers of the Peace Agreement also were killed. In other words, social movement leaders and former insurgents were being killed in political violence at a rate of around one person every three days. Following the election of President Duque, the rate rose to around one person killed every other day. Around Christmas of 2019, the rate of killings rose to one social movement leader, human rights defender, or peace process participant killed every day. As of August 19, 2020, Indepaz listed a total of 243 social leaders, human rights defenders, or peace process participants that had been murdered so far this year, bringing the rate to more than one victim of political violence per day. If we add the 28 persons killed in the spree of political violence on Friday, August 21, 2020, we see a new rate, as of August 25, of one victim of political violence in Colombia every 21 hours, that is, five victims every four days.
Even when human rights defenders have denounced threats of massacres, the Colombian government has not intervened. This includes a recent threat of a massacre by armed groups against the Collective Territory of the Naya River region, comprised of 73 communities. The Naya region suffered the horrible massacre of 2001, when more than forty people were killed.
We denounce U.S.A support to train and fund Colombian military forces over the past twenty years, using U.S. taxes to spy on reporters, human rights defenders, politicians, judges, union leaders and possible military whistle blowers.
We have asked you to contact your congressional representatives to sign dear colleague letters, and we have asked you to call on Secretary of State Pompeo to help protect human rights defenders and to hold accountable those responsible for these violations.
We have asked the Colombian President and its government to protect the lives of its citizens with no effective measures taken by them.
Even though these authorities do not want to hear us, we will not be silent. We will raise up our voices as often as is necessary until the killings stop! This increasing violence against the Colombian people and their country’s peace must not be tolerated. From the streets of Colombia to the streets of the U.S.A, people are rising up to demand an end to political violence against human rights defenders and social movement leaders. This brutality must end.