On Monday night, the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (INDEPAZ) denounced the murder of John Jairo Esquivel. This fact brings to 55 the number of human rights defenders killed so far this year.
Int. Organizations Demand Investigation Into Colombian Massacre
Esquivel, who was a member of the Peasant Guard and a member of the National Peasant Association (ASONALCA), lived in the municipality of Fortul, in the department of Arauca. Illegal armed organizations and the Second Division of the Colombian Army are present in this area.
"We hold the Colombian State responsible for these events and the actions committed against the social movement and its communities," ASONALCA said, referring to the death of this social leader.
The Association also highlighted that the persecution, stigmatization, prosecution, and murder of social activists aggravates the humanitarian crisis. This happens amid the reconfiguration of the armed conflict carried out by paramilitary structures, which are continuing the genocide against Colombians.
ASONALCA urged the international community and human rights organizations to accompany the Colombian communities in their efforts to create "collective protection mechanisms and make visible the serious situation in the country."
Esquivel was killed in circumstances still unknown. Meanwhile, due to the upsurge in armed violence, the Ombudsman's Office issued an “Early Warning” for the municipalities of Arauquita, Fortul, Saravena, and Tame.
Currently, the armed groups establish controls on the mobility of the population and obtain illicit income from smuggling fuel, livestock, merchandise, and weapons.