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Colombia, 1/11/2021

Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia

Sr. Fiscal Francisco Barbosa Delgado, Attorney General of Colombia

Dear President Duque and Attorney General Barbosa:

We are shocked at the recent human rights report from the Colombia NGO organization INDEPAZ (Institute of Studies for Development and Peace), reporting that 310 social leaders and other human rights defenders were killed during 2020.  Here are some of the assassinations from just the last week of 2020:


December 23

Journalist Felipe Guevara Henao was a legal reporter for the Q’Hubo newspaper who had previously received threats. His partner is pregnant with their first child. (Cali, Valle del Cauca Department)

Indigenous activist Fablio Armando Guanga Quistial of the Awá community El Gran Rosario was killed after being abducted from his home. (Tumaco, Nariño Department)

December 24

Town councilor Pedro Alejandro Pérez Doria wasmurdered while having lunch with companions (San Pelayo, Córdoba Department)

December 25

Peasant farmer and environmental defender Roberto Eduardo Parra Ovalle had been receiving threats for campaigning against deforestation and land appropriations. (Mesetas, Meta Department)

December 26

Indigenous community activist Juvenal Vitonás Achicué was shot dead by armed men on a motorcycle while standing in front of a pharmacy (Toribío, Cauca)

December 27

A teacher who organized education programs for children in rural communities, Luis Alberto Anay Ruiz, was found murdered five days after leaving his home to go fishing. (Tumaco, Nariño Department)

December 28

Agricultural trade unionist Omar Moreno, member of SINTRAGRIM (Independent Agricultural Workers Union of Meta) and the Patriotic Union political party, was murdered by armed men on a motorcycle while he was traveling in a taxi. (between Llorente and Pasto, Nariño Department)

December 30

Agricultural trade unionist Norbey Antonio Rivera was a member of ASCAMTA (Campesino Association of Workers of Argelia); his partner Nancy Santacruz, a town councilor, had already been displaced from Argelia after receiving death threats. (Popayán, Cauca Department)

These are just a few examples of attacks and murders of social leaders who lost their lives during the past year, making 2020 the most violent year in Colombia since the signing of the peace accords in November 2016. We strongly urge that you guarantee thorough investigations to find the perpetrators of the atrocities listed above and that you provide all necessary security measures for social leaders to ensure full implementation of the provisions of the peace process. 


Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez



Francisco Santos Calderón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via email, US mail
IACHR: Antonia Urrejola Noguera, Rapporteur for Colombia & for the Rights of Indigenous Persons, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
UN: Juliette De Rivero, Representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ~ via email
US Embassy: Kristen Farrell (human rights) and Mariel Chatman (vulnerable populations) ~ via email
US State Department: Christine Russell, Desk Officer for Colombia ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email