Over 110 human rights defenders were killed in 2018; nearly 30 percent of these were Indigenous social leaders, while an additional 12 victims were Afro-Colombian.
The United Nations (U.N.) denounced on Wednesday the numerous human rights violations and extrajudicial killings in 2018 in Colombia as consequences of poor implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement in the region.
The representative of the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia (Acnudh), Guillermo Fernandez Maldonado, released the organization’s annual report, along with a list of homicide victims killed in 2018.
The report indicated 115 human rights defenders were killed last year, noting that nearly 30 percent of these were Indigenous social leaders, while an additional 12 victims were Afro-Colombian.There have been 76 murder reports of human rights activists so far this year, however, only 26 have been recorded and confirmed thus far.
The international body insists social leaders are targeted for complaining about criminal activity, supporting the Peace Agreement or substituting illicit crops, among other reasons. The international agency urged the Colombian government to prioritize these reports to prevent deadly harm from befalling community leaders.
“Substantial delays in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, particularly in relation to comprehensive rural reform and the substitution of illicit crops” is another important factor behind the growing rate of homicides, the Acnudh said.
While in Geneva earlier this year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet released the annual report for review and noted that employing military personnel to “fight crime” only showed to increase the number of human rights violations and recommended state authorities search for a more peaceful alternative.
The report warns that in 2018 the number of massacres increased by 164% with respect to 2017, from 11 to 29 cases. The majority of these killings occurred in Antioquia, Cauca, Northern Santander, and Caqueta. In the first three of these departments, there was also a higher incidence of murders of human rights defenders.