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Colombia: News & Updates
Colombia has the world’s second largest population of internally displaced persons (five million) due to the half-century internal armed conflict—the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere (since 1964). Control for territory and popular support among the three main groups (left-wing rebel forces FARC & ELN, right-wing paramilitaries, Colombian police/military) has left 220,000 killed, 75% of them non-combatants. Since 2000, the US has exacerbated the violence by sending more than $9 billion in mostly military assistance. Colombia, which has both Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, holds strategic interest for the US for global trade and military posturing.
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April 11, 2019
Assassinations of two more social leaders: musician Edwin Andrés Grisales Galvis and indigenous leader Ebel Yonda Ramos.
March 26, 2019
Argemiro López Pertuz, a rural organizer, was murdered on March 17. Armed men broke into his home in the village of La Guayacana in Tumaco municipality, Nariño Department, attacked him and his family, injuring his partner and his mother. Argemiro López Pertuz promoted the implementation of the Comprehensive National Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS), which was established under the peace agreement 2016. More than 30 people working on crop substitution programs have been murdered in this area since November 2016. Meanwhile, coca production is increasing.
March 25, 2019
Paramilitaries forcibly displaced hundreds of families from their homes in Córdoba Department and abducted three local peasant farmers from their homes in San José de Uré. On March 22 two of those abducted, Jhon Jeimer González Vasquez and Julio César Taborda Caro, were found dead. Both men had been tortured. Authorities also expect to find the body of the third man. All had enrolled in land restitution programs for victims of forced displacement.
March 22, 2019
assassination of LGBTI rights defender Liliana Holguín, age 40, and her nephew (unnamed), on February 26 as they were traveling by motorbike from Guáramo to Caucasia in the Bajo Cauca region of Antioquia Department. Persons on another motorbike approached them and fired several gunshots, killing them both.
March 21, 2019
assassinations of social leaders in Puerto Asís, Putumayo Department: rural organizers Milena García and her husband, Darwin Reyes, and Doctor Zonia Rosero.
March 12, 2019
Rev. Milton Mejia, a longtime partner of the Presbyterian Church (USA), told the delegates about the community of FARC ex-combantants in Tierra Grata and their work to get water to their land. Delegates also met with neighborhood leaders in Barranquilla who are working to build up their communities and seek alternatives to violence. In addition, they met with the FARC leaders and representatives to CSIVI, the body that oversees the carrying out of the Peace Accords, as well as the UN Verification Commission in Bogotá.
RRN Case Update
March 7, 2019
Colombia - case summaries 2018
More than one-third of the urgent action letters that IRTF's Rapid Response team wrote in 2018 were sent to officials in Colombia because of the disturbing increase in human rights abuses there (namely assassinations) targeting social leaders. Here is a summary of the 27 human rights cases. For more information on any of these cases, please contact email@example.com .
February 26, 2019
Please find attached the letter (Feb 26 2019) we sent to officials in Colombia regarding the assassination of José Fernel Manrique Valencia, age 34, an executive board member of the Union of Construction Material Industry Workers (SUTIMAC) in Bucaramanga in Santander Department. At 9:30pm two assassins on a motorbike shot him twice, killing him outside his home in the Café Madrid neighborhood. José Manrique Valencia worked for Cemex Colombia, a national construction company, for more than a decade. Since SUTIMAC was formed in 1972, at least 40 of its members have been murdered, but only one person has been convicted.
February 25, 2019
We wrote to officials in Colombia regarding an attack on Dibeth Quintana, a leader of the Oil Workers’ Union (USO) in Aguachica, Cesar Department. After leaving a judicial proceeding in the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Aguachica on February 13, strangers abducted her, beat her, tied her hands and feet, and abandoned her on the outskirts of the municipality. She was treated in a local medical center for physical and emotional trauma.
February 15, 2019
Companies represented in Duque’s audience included Occidental Petroleum, Twitter, Hilton, Monsanto, Southwest Airlines, Drummond, and Aecom...Duque praised the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement...and delivered the now-traditional Colombian praise and thanks for the nearly 20 years of US participation in Plan Colombia [initiated by President Clinton], which has delivered about nine billion dollars in military aid to his country.