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News > Latin America

Javier Ancizar: Another Social Leader Murdered in Colombia

  • Javier Ancizar Fernandez, murdered Thursday in Colombia's Cauca department.

    Javier Ancizar Fernandez, murdered Thursday in Colombia's Cauca department. | Photo: Twitter / @Paola_teleSUR

Published 2 November 2018

Javier was a teacher and union leader. He received death threats in May, prompting him to leave the municipality of Morales.

Javier Ancizar Fernandez, teacher and union leader, was murdered Thursday in the Cauca department by a group of men who approached his vehicle and opened fire when he was returning home from work.  

Colombia's Peace Crumbles as Social Leaders Killed With Impunity

Colombian police have begun investigations to determine who is responsible for his murder but no information has been revealed thus far.

Javier was a member and leader of the Asociation of Teachers and Education Workers (Asoinca). According to local media, he left the municipality of Morales and settled in Suarez after receiving death threats in May. Five months later he was murdered in Suarez.

Twenty days ago Indigenous teacher Miguel Calamba was murdered while transiting the same road. The state's hypothesis is that Calamba was murdered as the result of a robbery.   

In 2016 the Colombian state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace treaty to end decades of conflict. However, in rural Colombia, social and community leaders continue being targeted and murdered with impunity.  

Local rights group Research Institute for Development and Peace, or Indepaz, places the number of victims between November 2016 and May 2018 at 385, while teleSUR’s own monitoring of these cases places the up-to-date number at over 400.

According to Camilo Bonilla, coordinator of the research department of the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), it is difficult to know with certainty who is behind these murders due to a lack of investigation by a state that responds to political and economic motivations. Human rights defenders point to paramilitary groups that continue to operate in Colombian territory. 

They have identified at least 13 active paramilitary organizations. Three with a national presence, including the Black Eagles that recently vowed to exterminate all members of the progressive political movement Humane Colombia, led by Senator Gustavo Petro.

A shadow report on human rights for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review showed that the General Attorney’s Office “lacks an investigation strategy that recognizes the existence of paramilitaries, the systematic character of the attacks, and that the condition of being human rights defenders constitutes a motive.”


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