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News > Country

Colombia: 53 Human Rights Defenders Murdered in Q1 2022

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "No more massacres", Colombia, May 5, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @lideresSC

Published 5 May 2022

The new figure implies an increase of 89 percent in the number of confirmed cases during the same period in 2021.

On Thursday, the "We Are Defenders" Program (PSD) reported that 53 human rights activists were killed in Colombia between January and March, a period in which 254 attacks and threats against them were also recorded.


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The Information System on Attacks against Human Rights Defenders in Colombia (SIADDHH) described the number of deaths as alarming as it implies an increase of 89 percent in the number of confirmed cases in Q1 2021.

"One of the departments with the highest number of murders was Cauca, a territory where human rights activists carry out their work amid hostilities prompted by armed groups," the PSD pointed out.

More specifically, in the first quarter of 2022, the murders of human rights activists occurred in the departments of Cauca and Putumayo (7), Nariño (6), Arauca (5), Norte de Santander (4); Cesar and Choco (3); Antioquia, Bolivar, Caqueta, San Andres, Santander, and Valle del Cauca (2); and Boyaca, Casanare, Cordoba, La Guajira, Meta, and Tolima (1). 

When analyzing the leadership that murdered people exercised, the PSD detected that the greatest number of victims corresponded to community leaders (16) and Indigenous leaders (12). As for the alleged perpetrators of the 53 murders, the available data reveal that 40 cases remain without criminals being detected, which has been the prevailing trend for some time.

Responsibility for the remaining 13 murder cases is attributed to dissidents from the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Colombian Army, and paramilitaries.

The "We Are Defenders" Program also released data of what happened in 2021, the most violent year in the last 12 years, as 996 attacks against human rights activists were documented, 139 of whom were killed. 

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