The United Nations condemned the rising violence targeting Colombian social leaders after police discovered the bodies of two missing activists in Santander, Colombia Saturday.
The remains of Bellavista’s 37-year old president of the Community Action Board (JAC), Isaac Navarro Mora, and Hector Santiago Anteliz, 52, were found riddled with bullets abandoned on the roadside in Teorama Saturday morning.
Authorities report both Navarro and his wife, Luz Bella Reyes, were kidnapped Friday night following a social event. Police say that though they are pursuing multiple lines of investigation, they believe the pair were killed by motorcyclists and rogue members of Colombia's former guerrilla groups.
In response to Santiago’s death, also a JAC president, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees tweeted, “We condemn the homicide of Héctor Santiago Anteliz, 52 years old, president of the JAC of San Jose, Teorama, in Norte de Santander. In 2018, we have documented 9 defenders' homicides in this department. #NiUnoMas #colombia #DDHH.”
At least 100 social leaders since January, the Institute of Study on Peace and Development (Indepaz) and the Patriotic Mach reported in a study released earlier this month during the Agrarian Summit.
According to the figures of the document, January was the month in which more murders of leaders reached 27 followed by March with 21, May 18, February 17 and- according to teleSur’s Manuel Jimenez, within the first 5 days of June, 7 leaders had already been killed.
Arauca, Cauca, Antioquia, Norte de Santander, Santander, Valle del Cauca, Nariño were described as the most dangerous for social leaders, registering the highest number of murders.
Multiple human rights organizations have urged the Colombian government to implement more effective measures to preserve the lives of social leaders.