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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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August 25, 2018
Attacks against indigenous leaders in Colombia, particularly in the Southwest (departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Nariño). According to human rights organizations in Colombia, more than 120 social leaders have been assassinated in the first six months of 2018, 40% of them in the Southwest.
July 22, 2018
There is an alarming rate of assassinations of social leaders in Cauca Department, Colombia. On July 3 the bodies of seven men were found on a road in the municipality of Argelia. They had been shot at point blank range with visible signs of torture and other ill-treatment.
July 21, 2018
The paramilitary group Águilas Negras (Black Eagles) threatened in recent email and social media communication to kill a number of individuals, organizations and journalists. The message vowed to “exterminate” all human rights defenders and social leaders, calling them “guerrillas in disguise.”
June 25, 2018
More than 200 indigenous Nasa Embera Chamí people from La Delfina reservation in Buenaventura (West), Colombia, have been displaced following an armed attack on a member of their community. The National Indigenous Organization (ONIC) reports that 80 women (5 pregnant), 90 men, and 80 children are are currently confined in a nearby school. They are in need of food, clothing, medicine, basic shelter items (tents, blankets), and access to health services.
June 14, 2018
On May 17 there was an attack on the binational indigenous Yukpa people living in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander Department. Jesuit Refugee Service has reported that 106 indigenous people, including 56 children, were forced to move in search of refuge and assistance from the local authorities. Some were subsequently displaced to the Venezuelan border.
June 12, 2018
Massive arrests of dozens of elected community leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia on April 23: Among them are members of the Black Communities’ Process (PCN), an internationally recognized organization that has worked to dismantle illegal armed groups’ activities in Afro- descendant territories.
May 26, 2018
Continual flooding related to the construction of the Hidroituango Hydroelectric Project is having disastrous effectson the communities along the Cauca River in the municipality of Valdivia in Antioquia Department.
May 11, 2018
Assassination of Hugo Albeiro George Pérez, member of the Association of Victims and Those Affected by Megaprojects (ASVAM) outside of Ituango, Antioquia Department. ASVAM is one of 15 organizations affiliated with Living Rivers of Antioquia (MRVA) opposing the Hidroituango hydroelectric project, under construction on the Cauca River. His nephew, Domar Egidio Zapata George, was also killed in the attack.
April 24, 2018
Two social leaders, Maria Magdalena Cruz Rojas and Belisario Benavidez Ordoñez, were murdered in two separate attacks on March 30. In a report at the end of March, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that “…since the implementation of the peace agreements, the murders of human rights defenders have increased persistently. According to an Ombudsperson’s report, between January 2017 and February 2018, there have been 121 murders of human rights defenders.”
April 1, 2018
Assassination of Silvio Duban Ortiz Ortiz, age 27, and his brother Javier Bernardo Cuero Ortiz, age 32, sons of Bernardo Cuero Bravo, the leader of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES), who was assassinated in front of his wife on June 7, 2017. The brothers were gunned down and killed instantly just 13 days after attending a judicial hearing on their father's murder case and a public demonstration demanding justice.