At least 145 social leaders were assassinated in Colombia during 2021 | News

The Colombian Ombudsman confirmed on Monday the murder of at least 145 social leaders and human rights defenders in the South American country during 2021.


They assassinate a social leader in Arauca, number three in just 17 days of 2022

The Colombian ombudsman indicated that despite the fact that the figure is lower than that of 2020, when 182 defenders were killed, “the actions of illegal armed groups continue to be worrying,” said Carlos Camargo.

According to the balance of the defense, in total there were 120 men and 25 women defenders killed.

As for the leaders killed, the majority of the murders were perpetrated against community members (35), indigenous people (32), community leaders (18), peasants or agrarians (16) and union leaders and public servants (6).

Homicides were concentrated in seven departments where 70 percent of all murders were reported, with Antioquia leading the list with 24 murders, followed by Cauca (22), Valle del Cauca (19), and Chocó (10).

For their part, the cities and municipalities where the most crimes were registered were Cali, with seven homicides, Tumaco (5), Argelia (4), Tuluá (4), while Buenaventura, Cúcuta, Dabeiba and Santa Marta each registered three homicides. .

The Colombian Ombudsman expressed its special concern about the situation in the department of Valle del Cauca, where the number of murders of social leaders and human rights defenders increased by 47 percent, from 10 to 19 homicides; while in Antioquia, the increase was 12 percent.

After confirming the number of murders, Carlos Camargo attributed the homicides mainly to the criminal actions of illegal armed groups in the rural areas of several Colombian departments.

The UN denounced last week the death of at least 78 human rights defenders and social leaders in 2021, most of them in the department of Valle del Cauca.

The multilateral organization indicated that 39 cases are still under verification, after warning that the figure does not represent all the homicides in the country, but only the cases that have been received and verified.

The Institute of Studies for Peace (Indepaz) reported at the end of 2021 that at least 170 social leaders were assassinated.

So far in 2022, Indepaz has already recorded three murdered social leaders, including a 14-year-old boy who is a member of the indigenous guard of the Las Delicias reservation, in the department of Cauca.