Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia
Sr. Fiscal Francisco Barbosa Delgado, Attorney General of Colombia
October 25, 2021
We are deeply distressed about the continued trend of assassinations of social leaders across Colombia.
Sep 10, Meta Department
Marco Tulio Gutiérrez Mendoza, a 62-year-old campesino and secretary of the Community Action Board of Albania village, was killed by armed men in Lusitania village, municipality of Lejanías. The Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ) had denounced the presence of several armed groups in the region, including the AGC paramilitaries (Self-Defense Forces Gaitanistas).
Sep 20, Chocó Department
Dilio Bailarín, an indigenous Embera community leader, was shot to death near the Alto Guayabal Reservation. He and five other leaders were being threatened by AGC paramilitaries, which operate in the Bajo Atrato River area. The Alto Guayabal Biodiverse Humanitarian Reserve is designated as a conflict-free zone in this area where local communities are threatened by multinational companies involved in extractive industries. Just four days prior, former indigenous Embera governor of the Chidima-Toló Reservation, Efren Antonio Bailarín Carupia, was also killed by AGC paramilitaries in Acandí, Chocó.
Sep 26, Bolívar Department
Erley Osorio Arias, a local leader of the agricultural & mining workers’ federation FEDEAGROMISBOL, was kidnapped on September 26, reportedly by AGC paramilitaries (also known in the area as Clan del Golfo), in the South of Bolívar. His body was found on September 30. FEDEAGROMISBOL blames the mayor of Montecristo municipality for delay in organizing a search for him.
Oct 14, Cauca Department
María Steffania Muñoz Villa became the 10th female ex-combatant and signer of the Peace Accords killed when she was attacked in the village of Mazamorrero, outside of Buenos Aires municipality. María Steffania Muñoz Villa was a member of the Carlos Patiño de La Elvira Territorial Space for Reincorporation (ETCR) in Buenos Aires. Her partner (also an ex-combatant) Yorbis Valencia Carabali was also killed on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on July 25. INDEPAZ reports that several armed groups operate in the region, including AGC, ELN (National Liberation Army), and a residual faction of the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army). At least 289 ex-combatants have been assassinated since the signing of the Peace Accords in November 2016.
We strongly urge that you
- conduct thorough and transparent investigations into the killings of Marco Tulio Gutiérrez Mendoza, Dilio Bailarín, Efren Bailarín Carupia, Erley Osorio Arias, and María Steffania Muñoz Villa, publish the results, and bring the perpetrators to justice
- take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary structures operating throughout Colombia
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez