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  • Photos of missing people mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Medellín, Colombia, August 2016.

    Photos of missing people mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Medellín, Colombia, August 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 June 2019

Social movements have convoked a global march for July 26 to demand the end of killings of social leaders and human rights activists in Colombia.

The 'We Defend Peace in Colombia' organization is calling for major peaceful protests in the country and abroad meant to pressure the President Ivan Duque administration into fully addressing the tragedy of continual murders of rural social movement and land rights leaders in Colombia.

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The massive global march set to take place July 26 is meant to "pay tribute to the (assassinated) social leaders and to demand action to end these crimes," read a Thursday communique from We Defend Peace in Colombia.

The group invited "the media, political parties, religious institutions, universities, the private sector, social organizations, and citizens in general" to also join the day-long march and demonstrations.

We Defend Peace in Colombia reminded the public of the recent assassination of social leader Maria del Pilar Hurtado Montaño, 34, killed last Friday, allegedly by paramilitary groups affiliated with the Clan Golfo near her home located in Cordoba Department. 

A video tweeted by the organization shows Maria's 9-year-old son, who witnessed the murder, crying next to his mother's dead body.

Colombia's top prosecutor's office said in a report from January that 431 Indigenous and Campesino community leaders were assassinated for trying to maintain political power and control of land in rural regions of the country between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2018.

Human rights organization, Justice for Colombia, put that number at 670 between 2016 and June 2019.

According to state prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez, the assassinations are "passively systematic" and that the national government is doing little to bring the murders to justice. 

The Center for Political and Sociocultural Studies of the Caribbean (CEPSCA) reported that in January alone, at least 41 people were killed violently in Cordoba, a territory disputed by the two major narco rings.

As violence continue to increase in Colombia's rural areas, President Ivan Duque's administration, which tried to change the role of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), has not been able to put an end to the murders of social activists.

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