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News > Latin America

UNESCO Demands Investigation into Murder of Efigenia Vasquez

  • The initial autopsy confirmed that Vasquez had been shot twice by multiple firearms.

    The initial autopsy confirmed that Vasquez had been shot twice by multiple firearms. | Photo: Facebook Vasquez Astudillo Efigenia

Published 19 October 2017

Efigenia Vasquez was a reporter and presenter for the community radio station, Renacer, in Colombia who was killed while covering a police crackdown on indigenous activists.

On Wednesday, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization condemned  the murder of radio broadcaster Efigenia Vasquez, who was killed on Oct. 8 in the Kokonuko community in Purace, Cauca, Colombia.

Indigenous Broadcaster Killed in Colombia

UNESCO's director, Irina Bokova, urged Colombian authorities to investigate the crime because "it undermines both freedom of expression and freedom of information, rights that are crucial to any democracy."

Efigenia Vasquez was a reporter and host for the community radio station, Renacer. She was shot and killed while covering the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) attack against the indigenous people in the Kokonuko area.

"The community was in the middle of taking back their lands when they were attacked by the ESMAD, without any restraint," said Viviana Ipia, Deputy Governor of the Kokonuko Reservation.

The indigenous people denounced the use of tear gas and firearms by the ESMAD in the crackdown, and stated that this is not the first an attack has happened on the indigenous community. "We have bullet casings from the attack on the community," Ipia reported.

The initial autopsy provided by the Regional Indian Council of Cauca (CRIC), later confirmed by Legal Medicine, revealed that Vasquez suffered two gunshot wounds from multiple firearms, one of which was in the chest.

Colombian Officials Admit to Police Killing of Campesinos, 4 Suspended

Viviana Ipia explained that the liberation exercise of Mother Earth has been going on for more than six years. The objective is to take back indigenous lands that are in the hands of third parties, usually private entities, as is the case with the Aguas Tibias estate.

The purchase of the estate had already been negotiated with the Government on Sep. 23.

Before the protests, natives already planned to retake the territory.

So far in 2017, more than 60 human rights defenders, farmers, and social leaders have been killed in Colombia.

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