We wrote to officials in Colombia about the continued violence targeting Afro-descendant and Indigenous community leaders in Nariño Department. We demand investigations into the assassinations of María Piedad Aguirre and María Verónica Pai Cabeza who became the 104th and 109th social leaders assassinated in Colombia this year. Both were killed in Tumaco municipality, Nariño Department.
July 19: María Piedad Aguirre was a local leader of Caminos de Mujer (CCM) and Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN). She was assassinated in her home in the neighborhood of Los Angeles California, Tumaco.
August 1: María Verónica Pai Cabeza of the Piguambi Palangala Indigenous Awá reservation was killed with five shots in the village of Llorenete, Tumaco. She was six months pregnant, leaving two children orphaned.
In a statement rejecting the killing of María Verónica Pai Cabeza, traditional Awá authorities denounced the physical and cultural extermination to which they are subjected by illegal armed groups disputing the territory. On several occasions they have requested governmental support to contain the murders, massacres, forced disappearances, displacements, confinement, and mobility restrictions.
In addition to investigating the assassinations and prosecuting the responsible parties, we are urging that authorities in Colombia: (1) protect Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities from outside armed groups through state presence, abiding by parameters set by the communities, and (2) construct comprehensive and inclusive measures to implement the Peace Agreement, with approaches that focus on gender, territorial, and ethnic groups.