Another activists was killed in Colombia in an ongoing wave of violence against defenders of human rights and the environment despite a landmark peace agreement that has promised to end more than 50 years of civil war.
The body of Luz Herminia Olarte, a social leader who worked in the town of Llano de Ochalí in Yarumal, Antioquia, was found after she was reportedly taken from her home Tuesday Feb. 7. Colombian human rights organization, The Social Process of Guarantees for the Work of Human Rights Defenders, has spoken out against the murder and demanded government action.
"A society that allows the assassination of its leaders will be condemned to the social deterioration that leads to despotism, barbarism and the continued cyclical phenomenom that does not allow it to overcome their own conflicts and reach peace," the organization said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The body of Olarte, who was part of her local community action board, was found in a pit buried between bushes and branches, according to the organization.
Nineteen social leaders have been murdered in Colombia since the start of 2017. Five of these leaders were from Antioquia, a department in northwestern Colombia.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights warned in November that the increase in killings of human rights defenders in Colombia is “alarming” and also noted that many activists face reprisals, harassment and threats.
IACHR, an independent organ of the Organization of American States, also reported that at least 50 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2016 alone.