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Tuesday, 06 December 2016 00:00

United Nations presents details on violence against social leaders in Colombia

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According to the organization, after the signing of the first peace agreement in Cartagena (September 26, 2016) 13 out of the 57 murders that have been monitored in 2016 have occurred.

In a statement, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia expressed concern about the "persistent violence against persons that exercise the defense of Human Rights in the country, particularly those who live in rural areas".

According to the agency 35 attacks and 52 homicides against human rights leaders were recorded up to November 30 of this year and five more cases are under analysis.

"With concern, the Office notes that 75% of homicide victims developed their activities in rural areas, and that murder methods and attacks are more sophisticated in order to cover up intellectual perpetrators" the statement said.

Thirteen homicides since the signing of the first agreement

Likewise, the United Nations Office of Human Rights in Colombia detailed that thirteen of the 57 homicides of social leaders presented this year happened after the signing of the first peace agreement between the Government and the FARC in Cartagena. Seven were in rural areas, including those that occurred last November in Meta, Caqueta and Nariño departments.

Common Aspects

The organization explains that the rural areas where homicides against social leaders have taken place are characterized as areas where the FARC has had a historical presence. After the signing, the mobilization of the militiamen has left a void that "deepened in light of the integral absence of the State".

"For example, if there was a problem between neighbors, it was previously regulated by the FARC-EP, today it the strongest person regulates it through the use of force" notes the statement.

Another common factor to these areas is the lack of economic alternatives for survival, which favors the existence of illegal economies such as illicit crops and illegal mining.

The combination of these two characteristics, explains the UN "has favored the emergence and expansion of all types of criminality, including the entry of other groups outside the law, who are fighting for control over these economies, affecting the rights of people".

Violence against social leaders, in addition to these two factors, is also related to perceptions of these people as obstacles to achieving economic and political interests, stigmatization, use of force to regulate conflicts, dispute between illegal groups for control of illegal economies.
Finally, the organization asked the State to ensure the safety of both social leaders and the population that is involved in these acts of violence and municipal authorities to implement prevention policies and take measures to ensure the lives of these citizens. They also asked the Prosecutor's Office to prioritize these investigations.

Source: El Espectador

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