Two rural leaders murdered in Chocó

On 8 April, the social leaders Wilson Quetama and Claudio Vásquez were murdered in San José del Palmar, department of Chocó. The Colombian NGO Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris (New Rainbow Corporation) said that the men were killed by a front belonging to the National Liberation Army, which remains active in western Colombia following the breakdown of peace talks with the government.

Wilson was a member of the San José del Palmar Victims’ Association and worked on illicit crop substitution programmes as stipulated in the 2016 peace agreement. Claudio was president of the Peasant Farmer Association in the village of La Italia and worked on local collective projects designed to improve rural infrastructure.

In a statement, the Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris said ‘We support the ELN’s demand for the approval of a humanitarian agreement for the department of Chocó, which guarantees respect for human rights and international humanitarian law for the inhabitants of this vast region of the Colombian Pacific coast, but we demand at the same time that The ELN guerrilla honors the commitment to respect the lives of innocent civilians trapped in the vortex of violence that exists in those areas. Enough of attacks against the civilian population!’