Two social activists killed in Bajo Cauca region on same day

Paramilitaries murdered two more social activists on Wednesday 13 May in separate attacks in the Bajo Cauca region of Antioquia, one of the most violent parts of Colombia since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016.

In the first attack, Teylor Cruz Gil was killed in Cáceres. The 47-year-old, who was president of his local Community Council, was killed inside his own home by two assailants.

In the zone of Tarazá, paramilitaries murdered rural organiser Julio César Hernández, also 47. Julio was president of the Community Council of the San Antonio district. He had previously been displaced from the zone after his wife was murdered and his brother badly injured in separate attacks.

Human rights groups have repeatedly warned about the threat to communities from armed groups in Bajo Cauca. Paramilitaries continue to impact local communities due to the region’s strategic importance for illicit economies.

A recent investigation by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which was created in the 2016 peace agreement to investigate human rights abuses, found that the first few months of 2020 saw the highest rate of murders of social activists since the agreement was signed in November 2016. According to the INDEPAZ human rights organisation, the two latest cases take the number of social activists murdered in Antioquia so far this year to 15.