Two more social activists murdered

Two more social activists have been killed in separate incidents in Colombia, as the violent start to 2019 continues. As many as ten social activists have now been killed in as many days.

On 7 January, community councillor Miguel Antonio Gutiérrez, who was 40 years old, was murdered at his home in Cartagena del Chairá, department of Caquetá. He had previously received paramilitary death threats on several occasions.

In a statement, the National Confederation of Community Action said it ‘calls on the national government to increase territorial presence through social programmes and improvement of roads, which provide security guarantees and protection of social leaders in order to respect their lives’.

On 10 January, the body of Faber Manquillo Gómez, a rural organiser, was found in El Rosario, department of Nariño. The 30-year-old had been missing since 26 December.

According to Colombia’s Ombudsman, 431 social activists and human rights defenders were murdered between the start of 2016 and the end of 2018. The Indepaz peace institute puts the figure at 566.