Colombia faces second pandemic: 95 killings since January

The social and political coordination of the Colombian movement Patriotic March, published an extensive report covering the first four months of the year, entitled "The other pandemic lived in Colombia".

The report focused on three core aspects: The Increase in homicides against social leaders, human rights defenders and former FARC-EP guerrillas in the process of reincorporation; the serious social, economic crisis, the violations of human rights in the territories due to the forced eradication of illicit crops, and the deep crisis in prison crisis, which has taken the lives of several inmates in the last month.

Patriotic March highlights in the introduction of the document, that "the measures adopted by the National Government to counter and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, must guarantee fundamental rights such as the right to life, health, safety of all the Colombian people, particularly in rural Colombia which has historically been left in poverty and marked by social exclusion, lacking of infrastructure, connectivity and medical centers."

The report reveals, for example, that since the declaration of self-isolation as a prevention measure, 26 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered.

The 88% of these crimes were carried out against human rights defenders in rural territories. These social leaders belonged to organizations of peasants, indigenous people and Afro-descendants, and were part of different national processes such as the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia , Patriotic March and the Peoples Congress - National Agrarian Coordinator.

The report underlined that most affected department is Cauca with 13 killings, followed by Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Córdoba and Putumayo.

The main concern is that according to the monitoring carried out by the Patriotic March, 2020 has been one of the most violent years since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, since 95 murders of social leaders and former guerrillas have been recorded so far. 

The report concludes that there are not sufficient security guarantees to secure the life and integrity of human rights defenders in Colombia and of those who work for peace and the implementation of the agreements.

Consequently, says Patriotic March, it is urgently required that the State institutions coordinate in a united way preventive, protection, reparation and non-repetition effective actions aimed at stopping this extermination and ensuring proper investigation and prosecution of the responsible of the killings.