At least 837 social leaders and FARC former combatants have been murdered in Colombia since the start of 2016, according to a shocking new report by Colombian human rights organisations the Patriotic March, the Cumbre Agraria and the Institute for Development and Peace (INDEPAZ).
The majority of cases have occurred following the signing of the peace agreement in November 2016. 591 social leaders and all the documented FARC members have been killed in that time.
Altogether, the report documents the murders of 702 social leaders (604 men and 98 women) and 135 FARC members. The most violent regions in the country are the departments of Cauca, Nariño and Antiqouia. 236 social leaders have been killed since President Iván Duque took office ten months ago.
The report, entitled Todos los nombres, todos los rostros (All the names, all the faces), shows a sharp increase in targeted killings of people involved in community activism or implementing Colombia’s peace agreement. It says that ‘there remains a lack of normative developments and effective actions to face systematic violence against communities, organisations and leaderships’.
The majority of victims belong to rural and ethnic minority groups, with 499 murders of members of indigenous, African-Colombian and peasant farmer communities. Just over 70 per cent of cases have been related to disputes over land and natural resources, while there have been 77 murders connected to illicit crop substitution programmes, one of the core elements of the peace agreement.
Perpetrators include paramilitaries, other armed groups and the security forces. Threats are often delivered through pamphlets, text messages and social media.
The Patriotic March, one of the report’s authors, says that 200 of its members have been killed since the organisation was founded in 2010, with 77 cases occurring after the peace agreement was signed.
To download the full report (in Spanish), click here.