Hip hop artist murdered over political activism

A hip hop artist and human rights defender was murdered in the town of Sevilla, department of Valle del Cauca, on 25 March. Edwin Andrés Grisales Galvis, 29 years old, was shot dead at around 11pm in the Belén neighbourhood. His brother Jhon Fredy Grisales, also a human rights activist, called on authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the crime.

Edwin was a member of the Southwest Network of Popular Artists (RAPSO), a regional musical collective which uses hip hop and other styles of music to promote peace and social justice. In a statement, RAPSO said his murder was connected to his social, political and cultural activism.

‘As RAPSO artists we demand that those who shot and blinded Edwin’s life are found. We demand justice! This crime must not remain in impunity, a crime that occurs within the context of the systematic murder of social leaders in Colombia. But we also demand from the State that life choices for our young people can not be synonymous with a tragic destiny of marginality and violence’ said the statement.

RAPSO also accused police of a slow response to the shooting, which delayed Edwin from receiving medical attention.

Edwin is at least the third hip hop musician murdered in 2019 over their activism. On New Year’s Day, Gilberto Valencia was the year’s first human rights defender to be murdered. He organised youth workshops focused on peace in Suárez, department of Cauca. On 15 January, Victor Manuel Trujillo was murdered in Puerto Guamo, department of Bolívar. Under the name of Victtote, he sang about peace and human rights.

At least 30 social leaders have now been murdered in 2019, with close to 500 killed since the peace agreement was signed in 2016.