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  • With Romelio, 261 leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in 2020, which has been widely noted, not only by social organizations in Cauca, but also by the Colombian Ombudsman's Office.

    With Romelio, 261 leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in 2020, which has been widely noted, not only by social organizations in Cauca, but also by the Colombian Ombudsman's Office. | Photo: Twitter/@Indepaz

Published 1 December 2020
Opinion

There are already 261 indigenous leaders and human rights defenders murdered in Colombia during 2020 alone. 

Romelio Ramos Cuetia, a 31-year-old indigenous community member, was murdered by a group of armed men in the rural area of the municipality of Suárez, in the northern part of the Colombian department of Cauca.

The indigenous man was a native of the village of Paletón in the municipality of Jambaló and resided in the Alejandría village in the of Cerro Tijeras, where he worked as a farmer.

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According to the version provided by the human rights organization, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN), the victim had moved to Suárez, where he was at a party with his family and was last seen alive.

The body of Ramos Cuetia was found with firearm impacts on a road, in a sector known as El Amparo, two and a half kilometers from the urban area of the municipality of Suárez.

The victim was the father of two children and was an active part of community life in the Jambaló Resguardo.

For the moment, it was ruled out that it was a case of theft since the motorcycle he was riding was found in the same sector as the rest of his belongings.

The local indigenous authorities took on investigating this crime and assured that the humanitarian situation in the northern territories of Cauca remains critical.

According to the ACIN, threats and intimidation are materializing in the form of murders in the various communities.

In November alone, at least four murders were reported in indigenous territories. This year, in the Cerro Tijeras reservation, at least eight murders have been reported, not counting the other events registered in the rest of the municipality of Suárez.

For its part, the Research Institute for Development and Peace (Indepaz) reported that counting Ramos Cuetia, there are 261 indigenous leaders and human rights defenders murdered during 2020 so far in Colombia.

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