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Colombia, 03/30/21

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

Sr. Fiscal General Francisco Barbosa Delgado, Attorney General of Colombia


March 30, 2021

Dear Sirs:

We are very disturbed that the latest human rights report from Colombia continues to indicate ongoing failure to prevent human rights violations, some involving state security forces. The following are some of the cases reported during just the last week of March.

March 23 – Armed men killed Carlos Andrés Bustos Cortes, a former FARC combatant, in Puerto Asís, Putumayo Department, as he was traveling by motorbike. A woman riding with him was injured. Carlos was in the reincorporation process at the ETCR (Territorial Spaces for Training and Reincorporation) transition zone Heiler Mosquera. Although registered with the National Protection Unit, Carlos had not received any protective measures. He became the 262nd former FARC combatant murdered since entering the reincorporation process, and the thirteenth in the reincorporation process murdered in 2021.

March 26– A car bomb explosion in front of the town hall in Corinto, Cauca Department, injured 43 people, including 11 employees of the town hall, and left at least four in critical condition. Several armed groups are active in Corinto, a major drug trafficking route.

March 26 – The latest in a series of assaults on the offices of progressive parties and organizations in Bogotá was a break-in at the offices of the indigenous political party MAIS (Movimiento Alternativo Indígena y Social);  a party member was violently assaulted and a computer containing sensitive information was stolen.

March 29 – Carlos Alberto Vidal, president of the SINTRACOS sugar workers union (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Cosecha Castilla) was shot dead while walking his dog at around 5:00pm, close to his home in the La Casilda neighborhood of Flórida, a city in Valle del Cauca Department.

March 29 – The bodies of Awá indigenous leader José Santos López, age 54, and Jhon Edwar Martínez, age 22, were found the day after four armed men abducted them in Tumaco, Nariño Department, a region of Colombia known for high levels of violence against indigenous communities. José Santos López, a former governor in the reservation El Gran Sábalo, became the 40th social leader murdered in 2021.

We strongly urge that you take all measures necessary to heed the directives of the United Nations Mission in Colombia that called for “the implementation of concrete measures for the comprehensive protection of all communities as well as the strengthening of security guarantees in the territories affected by the violence” described in the incidents above.


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, 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 ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email
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