Nine out of every ten murders of social activists goes unpunished

More than nine out of every ten murders of social activists and human rights defenders have gone unpunished during the last decade in Colombia, according to new findings published by Colombian NGO Somos Defensores (We Are Defenders).

Between 2009 and 2017, 563 people were murdered but only 49 cases resulted in convictions against the perpetrators, an impunity rate of 91.4 per cent. Somos Defensores urged Colombia’s justice system to make efforts to tackle the low figures.

The NGO also found that 77 social activists were murdered in the first six months of 2018, a 34 per cent increase on the same period during the previous year. The departments of Cauca, Antioquia and Norte de Santander suffered the most murders.

According to the Patriotic March political organisation, 425 social leaders have been murdered in Colombia since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016.