The killing took place just days before a humanitarian caravan by over 30 human rights organizations is scheduled to take place in the area.
The caravan is meant to raise awareness of the ongoing humanitarian crisis taking place in southwestern Colombia and the increase in targeted violence against Afro-Colombian and Indigenous peoples.
According to the Institute for Peace and Development Studies (Indepaz), with the murder of Navia, the number of social leaders killed in Colombia this year reaches 243. The department of Cauca was by far the hardest hit, with at least 83 leaders killed.
#Colombia | The Justice and Peace Commission reported that the paramilitary group "United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia" (AGC) killed community leader Oswaldo Rojas in the Choco Department.https://t.co/x1FFr4Duyp
Indepaz highlighted that Cauca has a heavy presence of illegal armed groups. Since last year, this region has been heavily militarized by right-wing President Ivan Duque, who sent over 2,500 troops to pacify the territory, resulting in even more violence.
“A result of the ample presence of armed groups is the extreme rate of militarization in the Caucan territories”, Indepaz said.
Additionally, the region is rich in strategic resources like coal, gold and oil. This new push to militarize the population comes as transnational interests seek to capitalize on Cauca’s vast resources previously out of reach to multinational corporations due to the presence of the country’s largest left-wing guerrilla, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
With the 2016 Peace Accords successfully demobilizing over 13,000 FARC combatants, the region is now being disputed on multiple fronts, leaving the civilian population paying in an increasingly precarious situation.