Colombia: Killings of human rights defenders continue under a cloak of impunity and the silent complicity of the state

Colombia faces a grave human rights crisis as a result of repeated targeted killings of human rights defenders, while the authorities look on unperturbed, Amnesty International said today.

The violence is relentless in the regions of Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó and Nariño, despite repeated complaints from local communities. According to the Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, a state body, the murder of a human rights defender is reported every three days. Those worst affected are community, Indigenous or Afro-descendant leaders and those who defend the rights of the victims of the armed conflict.

The armed conflict is intensifying before the inert gaze of the outgoing government and the silent complicity of the government-elect.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

“The silent complicity of the Colombian authorities cannot continue. The killing of those who defend human rights is causing renewed suffering in the country and destroying the social fabric of communities that have historically borne the brunt of the armed conflict and are now at greater risk due to the resurgence of paramilitary groups,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“The slow implementation of the Peace Agreement in the areas worst affected by the armed conflict and the absence of the state enables armed actors to coopt territories and keep killing human rights defenders with impunity.”

“The discriminate violence against people defending collective rights is now widespread and constitutes a massive human rights violation. The minimal efforts of Colombian authorities at all levels to provide information, condemn these events and take urgent measures of prevention and protection is deeply worrying. The armed conflict is intensifying before the inert gaze of the outgoing government and the silent complicity of the government-elect.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: +52 (1) 55 4848 8266, duncan.tucker@amnesty.org