UN rapporteur slams killings of Colombian rights defenders
A UN official called on the Colombian government to step up measures to protect human rights defenders following an upsurge in the number murdered since the signing of a peace agreement with former FARC guerrillas.
Michel Forst, UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said in an interview late Monday that armed groups have filled a power vacuum left by rebels who disarmed after signing the November 2016 agreement.
Those armed groups —an amalgam of political dissidents, drug traffickers, organized crime groups and paramilitaries— “are now the main perpetrators or attacks against defenders,” he said.
“At the time there is a drastic drop in the number of homicides throughout the country, probably related to the peace process,” Forst told AFP. “There has been a sharp increase in the homicides of defenders.”
Forst said the broad spectrum of aggressors also includes members of the security forces, as well as random strangers encouraged by “relatively high” rates of impunity.
“I have been horrified to hear the accounts of Afro-Colombian and indigenous farmers describing the attacks they face without being able to put a name to the perpetrators,” Forst said.
Right-wing President Ivan Duque, who took office in August, acknowledged the increase in activists’ murders, and pledged Monday to implement measures to prevent the killings.
“In recent years the number of murders have been growing and therefore it is very important that there is a reaction from the state,” Duque said in a joint press conference with Forst late Monday.
Forst promised to return to the country to monitor progress.
Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office said 311 rights defenders had been murdered between January 2016 and June 30 this year —one every three days.
Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years.
You may be interested
Tourists have high perception of Costa Rica during Covid, survey saysThe Tico Times - April 21, 2021
A survey of tourism professionals in Spain has recognized Costa Rica among the best-perceived international destinations during the pandemic. The…
Costa Rica has received 1.1 million Covid vaccines, applied 700,000The Tico Times - April 21, 2021
Costa Rica received a shipment of 118,000 Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccines on Tuesday night and has been delivered 1.14 million total…
Review: Invictus Restaurant, Lounge and Sports BarChris Howard - April 21, 2021
I was contacted by the Tico Times to write a review of a restaurant in Escazú. Ironically, it turned out…