Colombian NGO the Institute of Studies for Peace Development (INDEPAZ) has published a report which finds that 170 social leaders, human rights defenders and political activists were murdered in the country during 2017, a significant increase on the two previous years.
The killings were particularly concentrated in four departments: Nariño, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca and Chocó.
According to the report, the most violent zones are those vacated by the FARC following its demobilisation as a guerrilla force under the terms of the 2016 peace agreement. Territories previously under FARC jurisdiction have been occupied by illegal armed groups as the state has failed to provide adequate security.
Despite the apparent political motives for ongoing violence in Colombia, the Juan Manuel Santos government continues to claim that these murders are the result of personal feuds, criminal rivalries and crimes of passion. It also denies there is a paramilitary presence in Colombia, even though all the evidence contradicts this.
Source: Telesur English