UN registers steep rise in murders of Colombian activists

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Slayings of human rights leaders and mass killings of civilians are rising at a worrying tempo in Colombia, in accordance with a United Nations report printed on Tuesday.

The annual U.N. report on the human rights state of affairs in Colombia discovered that violence is “intensifying” in some rural areas the place state presence is weak and armed teams are combating for territorial management following the 2016 demobilization of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgent group.

Based on the U.N. report, no less than 133 human rights defenders had been murdered in Colombia in 2020, a 23% improve from 2019.

The United Nations additionally registered 76 massacres throughout the nation final yr, that are outlined as occasions during which three or extra civilians are executed without delay. The variety of massacres registered was “virtually double” the quantity in 2019 and was the very best quantity since 2016, stated Juliette de Rivero, the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights consultant in Colombia.

The report might be offered to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday by U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The findings had been printed as Colombia’s authorities struggles to decrease violence in rural areas that had been as soon as managed by the FARC and the place unlawful actions like cocaine trafficking, timber smuggling and wildcat mining nonetheless exist.


These areas are actually fought over by armed teams that embrace the Nationwide Liberation Military, the Gulf Clan and former FARC rebels who refused to hitch the 2016 peace take care of Colombia’s authorities.

The United Nations urged Colombia’s authorities to extend its presence in these areas to guard civilians and produce down violence.

A method to do this, De Rivero stated in a press convention, is by “placing the (2016) peace deal on the middle of the federal government’s response.”

The peace deal contains land titling tasks and packages aimed toward serving to coca growers to substitute their unlawful crops for authorized crops. It additionally created a fee aimed toward discovering options to dismantling armed teams.

President Ivan Duque has been a critic of some facets of the peace deal, together with a transitional justice system that he accuses of being too lenient with former insurgent commanders. Critics of his authorities have stated that it has been sluggish at implementing some facets of the peace deal, together with the coca substitution tasks.


The United Nations stated that Colombia’s authorities has made progress in direction of stopping violence in opposition to activists by establishing a monitoring system that gives early warnings on threats in opposition to human rights defenders. De Rivero additionally praised a latest initiative by the lawyer basic’s workplace to lower impunity for crimes by taking itinerant judges to distant rural areas.

Nonetheless, the report calls on Colombia to “intensify” efforts to implement the peace deal.

“The expansion in assassinations is worrying,” De Rivero stated. “The Colombian state has the capability to regulate its insurance policies to forestall violence.”


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