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  • Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016.

    Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 July 2019

Between January 2016 and May 30, 2019, 482 leaders were murdered and between April 2018 and April 2019, 982 leaders were threatened in Colombia.

The Defenders of Peace Movement said Monday that in the last one month at least 10 social leaders were killed in Colombia and called for an international march on July 26 in protest of the murders. 

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“We invite all citizens to walk with us and make a presence in the events scheduled for that day for the life of those who defend life and peace in the territories,” the organization said in a statement. 

Another social leader was killed in Colombia last week. Humberto Diaz was a community leader and president of the Community Action Board of the Guadalupe District. He was shot by intruders in his home. 

Athens, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, London, Madrid, Montevideo, New York, Madrid, Paris, Rome, and Santiago de Chile are some of the cities that will join see the march named #MarchemosPorLosLideres (March for the Leaders).

The Defenders of Peace is a pluralist bloc composed of former peace mediators, ex-ministers, ex-constituents, academics, congressmen, artists, jurists, and leaders of political parties and social organizations and victims of the internal armed conflict.

Since the signing of the peace agreements in 2016, former People's Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia (FARC) members have been facing persecution by right-wing elements and hitmen all over Colombia, being killed at an alarming rate despite having laid down their arms in search of peace.

According to information from Obudsmen’s office, between January 2016 and May 30, 2019, a total of 482 leaders were murdered and between April 2018 and April 2019, 982 leaders received threats. 

The Defenders of Peace published a statement Sunday highlighting the threat to social leaders lives in Colombia and urged people to participate in the march. 

“Defending the lives of social leaders and human rights defenders must be a transcendental and important issue for all sectors of society… The situation in the territories is increasingly complex. Despite the announcements, measures, and programs, the threats and deaths of social leaders in the country do not subside,” the statement reads. 

“For those who voted Yes for peace,” the organization called upon “leaders and opinion analysts, intellectuals, journalists and well-known public figures to join them, in order to defend the lives of the leaders, and to participate, without political pretensions, of the clamor that calls for this tragedy to end now.”

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