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News > Latin America

UN Confirms 73 Killings of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "Over 50 massacres and over 190 people murdered," Colombia, Dec. 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @PrensaRural

Published 22 December 2021

The highest number of murders by department was registered in the Cauca Valley, which was the epicenter of massive protests against President Ivan Duque.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed that at least 73 human rights defenders were murdered in Colombia in the first eleven months of 2021.


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"The OHCHR analized 191 homicide complaints. Of these, it verified 73 cases, 35 cases are in the verification process, and 83 cases are inconclusive," the UN agency said.

The highest number of murders by department (31) was registered in the Cauca Valley, which was the epicenter of the massive protests against President Ivan Duque's economic policy.

Other departments where murders of human rights activists were verified were Antioquia (6), Cundinamarca (5), Norte de Santander (4), Choco (3), Santander (2), Arauca, Caldas, Caqueta, Cordoba, Huila, La Guajira , Meta, Putumayo, Risaralda, Nariño, and Tolima.

The figures on State terrorism and paramilitary violence, however, could be much higher. So far this year, the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ) has registered 159 human rights defenders murdered and the Ombudsman's Office has counted 130 cases.

Previously, at the presentation of the report "Announced Deaths" on Dec. 7, the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Organization (CAJAR) and the "We Are Defenders" program denounced that the Colombian State was timely warned about the risks that human rights defenders faced.

"Despite this, the Duque administration, which has the responsibility of deploying institutional responses to tackle these risks, did not act diligently," outlet Rural Press stressed, recalling that 572 social leaders have were killed since the far-righ politician came to power in 2018.


Ivan Duque
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