At least 78 human rights defenders killed in Colombia in 2021

January 17, 2022

On 13 January 2022, Reuters and others reported that at least 78 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2021 according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), adding that more cases were still being verified.

Violence against human rights defenders, environmentalists and community activists – known collectively in Colombia as social leaders – has become a big challenge for President Ivan Duque’s government amid international criticism and demands that it do more to stop the killings.

The government accuses left-wing guerrillas from the National Liberation Army, ex-members of the FARC rebels who reject a 2016 peace deal, and criminal groups, some comprised of former right-wing paramilitaries, of attacking activists as they seek control of drug trafficking networks and illegal mining areas.

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it received 202 reports human rights leaders killed in Colombia last year. Of these 78 were confirmed as killed, 39 cases were still being verified, and 85 were inconclusive.

The Colombian Ombudsman documented 145 murders of social leaders and human rights defenders during 2021. See: https://www.parisbeacon.com/29669/.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/09/13/global-witness-2020-the-worst-year-on-record-for-environmental-human-rights-defenders/

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/about-80-rights-defenders-killed-colombia-2021-un-2022-01-13/

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/latin-america/1642096591-un-78-human-rights-activists-killed-in-colombia-during-2021

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