Although Colombia is increasingly closer to the signature of a Final Peace Agreement between the government and the FARC, human rights defenders continue to be targeted by threats and assassinations.
The figures have indeed increased this year compared to the same period of 2015, registering a total of 314 attacks, including 35 murders.
According to the latest report by the NGO Somos Defensores, between January and June 2016, 35 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia and 279 suffered some type of aggression. Of these, 232 were victims of threats, 21 attacks were committed against the lives of human rights defenders, 13 were victims of arbitrary detention, there are 9 cases of judicial processes, 3 were victims of strategic information theft and one defender has been denounced as disappeared in the Catatumbo.
Paramilitary groups are responsible for 68% of the denounced cases, while 22% have been perpetrated by unknown actors. The security forces of the State witnessed a 10% increase in attacks ascribed to the police, the army or the judiciary. Meanwhile, the Aguilar Negras (Black Eagles) paramilitary group, is responsible for 90% of threats against defenders in the last 5 years, and of many threats in the first half of the year.
Is This the End? is the title of a recently published report stating that "At the threshold of signing a peace agreement in Colombia, the rates of murders and attacks against human rights defenders continue to rise in contrast to the rapid decline of violent actions arising from the conflict. What is going on? Is this really the end of the conflict? Would violence against defenders end with the signature of the final agreement? And in addition, if the defenders are instrumental in building peace, how will this government guarantee their protection?"
Find the full report in Spanish here