Two more community leaders have been assassinated in Colombia, bringing the number of human rights activists murdered since December to a new total of 14 – despite the most recent peace agreement signed in November 2017.
Nixon Mutis, from the province of Bolivar, and Leidy Amaya, from the province of Catatumbo, were killed "because they defended and demanded the right to live peacefully," Agencia Prensa Rural posted on Twitter.
On average, three social leaders have been killed every month over the past five years, Agencia Prensa Rural noted, condemning "the indifference of the State."
The only measure the government has so far offered to implement is studying the situation of individual social leaders who have been threatened before granting them protection.
As a result of the official inaction, human rights groups have set up the Integral Program of Security and Protection for Communities and Organizations.
An estimated 170 Colombian social leaders were killed in 2017, up from 117 in 2016, according to a recent report by the Institute of Studies for Peace Development (Indepaz), a Colombian non-governmental organization.
The FARC began as a Marxist guerrilla movement in the 1960s advocating for peasant access to farmland, gaining the support of peasants and activists in rural areas over the ensuing decades.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos eventually reached an accord with the FARC in November 2016, which included the group's disarmament. In the wake of the FARC's withdrawal, violent right-wing paramilitaries have taken over.
The FARC's departure left a vacuum which, rathet than being filled by the state, is now being occupied by criminal gangs.
Meanwhile, the government claims such killings are unrelated and personal and, therefore, not related to the political situation.