WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

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21 Nov 2022 | News

Social Leaders and Ethnic Communities Hard Hit by Colombia’s Violence

Dear all,  

Below you will find the incidents and statements WOLA received since September 17, 2022. We urge U.S. policymakers to raise the situations below with the Colombian government and ask that they take action on behalf of the victims. All efforts to prevent further violations from taking place and justice for the abuses that occurred are encouraged.  

The high instances of killings of Indigenous and Afrodescendant leaders, as well as the humanitarian crises faced by such communities, and how best to address this should be guided by the commitments made in the Ethnic Chapter of the 2016 peace agreement. Also, new discussions surrounding the Total Peace policy must center around guaranteeing the physical protection of communities trapped in areas where illegal armed groups operate.  


Indigenous Awá Human Rights Defender Killed (Nariño) 

According to a report from the Indigenous Unit of the Awá authority (Unidad Indígena del Pueblo Awá, UNIPA) Homero Cortés from the Indigenous Quejuambi Feliciana Reservation was murdered was murdered on November 12 in Tumaco, Nariño. UNIPA urges the Colombian government to protect the life and territories of Indigenous peoples within its implementation of a Total Peace policy. 

Recognized Rural Leader Killed (Antioquia) 

On November 14, the Institute of Studies for Peace and Development (Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz, INDEPAZ) reported that armed men killed Carlos Andrés Posada in his home. Mr. Posada was the president of the Community Action Board (Junta de Acción Comunal, JAC) of Mandarinos village in Ituango until he became internally displaced due to death threats. He was known for having helped 4,000 other internally displaced people who had fled Ituango to Urabá due to illegal armed groups. INDEPAZ notes that illegal armed groups continue to intimidate civilians in areas where they are present. They impose multiple forms of control over civilian populations. Mr. Posada is the 1,390th social leader killed since the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement, and 163rd killed in 2022. INDEPAZ names the Self-Defense Gaitanistas Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC), the Caparros, and 18th Front (Frente 18) all operate in Antioquia.  

Indigenous Awá Human Rights Defender Killed (Nariño) 

According to a report from the Indigenous Unit of the Awá authority (Unidad Indígena del Pueblo Awá, UNIPA) Homero Cortés from the Indigenous Quejuambi Feliciana Reservation was murdered was murdered on November 12 in Tumaco, Nariño. UNIPA urges the Colombian government to protect the life and territories of Indigenous peoples within its implementation of a Total Peace policy. 

Indigenous Guard Member Murdered (Cauca) 

According to INDEPAZ on November 10, an indigenous guard member and former authority of the Paletará reserve, Juvencio Cequera, was murdered. He was assassinated following tensions over land disputes between the indigenous community and the multinational packaging company Smurfit Kappa. The Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) present in this zone is calling for a de-escalation of tensions.  

Ethnic Groups Want Murders to Stop in Their Territories (Nariño) 

On November 7, National Ethnic Coordination for Peace (Coordinación Etnica Nacional de Paz, CENPAZ) denounced the deaths, harassment, and internal displacement of their peoples in their ancestral territories. Recently, two Afro-Colombian were killed and their families internally displaced in Putumayo department. The Bolivarian Border Command (Comando de Frontera Bolivinario, CDFB) is obstructing the freedom of movement of these family members. As such, they remain in harms way because they are unable to move to urban areas. The anti-narcotics police are forcibly eradicating coca bushes in violation of the Ethnic Chapter of the 2016 peace agreement. It also goes against the policy agreed to in Nariño. These forced eradications led to riots whereby several persons became injured.  

Murders of Afro-Colombian Leaders Continue (Nariño) 

On November 3, the Association of Afro-Amazonian Community Councils of the San Miguel Rivers in Nariño (Asociación de Consejos Comunitarios Afro-Amazónicos de las Riveras del Río San Miguel de Ipiales-Nariño, ASOCCAFRAIN) reported the murder of Afro-Colombian leaders- Jonás Caicedo and Faustino Carabalí. Jonás and Faustino are cofounders of the Community Councils who for over 15 years advocated for Afro-Colombian collective land rights. ASOCCAFRAIN states that the State is responsible for the ongoing threats against the life, integrity and violations committed against their communities. They are calling local and national authorities to advance the Total Peace policy. This would help to protect the lives of Black communities and their leaders. They are also asking that authorities provide economic and psychological to the families of Jonas and Faustino. 

Indigenous Awá Authorities Declare a Human Rights Crisis (Nariño) 

On November 2, UNIPA raised the alarm about the humanitarian emergency taking place in the Awá Inda Sabaleta Indigenous Reservation. These authorities are continuously denouncing the killings and massacres of their members. The presence of illegal armed groups is causing anxiety and terror for their communities. According to UNIPA, the State has not effectively responded to this situation and by not doing so, this leads to new abuses.  

Afro-Descendant Social Leader and Family Member Killed (Nariño) 

On November 1, VigiaAfro reported the murder of social leader and president of the Afro Nuevo Amanecer Community Council, Jonás Carabalí, and his cousin. The organization demands for justice for these murders and the systematic killing of afrodescendants.  

Indigenous Guard Organizer Killed (Nariño) 

On October 30, INDEPAZ denounced the assassination of Carlos Alberto García, an organizer of the Indigenous Guard of the Pilvicito Authority (Guardia Indígena de la Comunidad Pilvicito) in the Inda Sabaleta reservation. Hooded subjects murdered García after he was forced out of his car only 300 meters from his home.

Female Indigenous Activist Murdered (Cauca) 

Indigenous leader Asdrúbal Plazas Calvo denounced the death of Yeimy Chocué Camayo on October 27. Camayo was a young female indigenous activist from the Chimborazo Reservation in the Department of Cauca. 

Feminist Indigenous Wayúu Leader Threatened (La Guajira) 

On October 28, new death threats were made against conservationist,  feminist, and indigenous Wayúu leader Yazmín Romero Espiayú. Yazmin is the legal representative of the Wayúu Girls and Women Feminist Movement known for her advocacy concerning the environmental damage caused by mining in the Ranchería River. A victim of persecution and harassment since 2012, she received the new threats on October 25. In a phone call, she was told that her “hours were numbered”. The authorities should investigate this incident and find who is behind these threats. This is the fourth high level threat made against her. While she was given protection measures in 2012, investigations to clarify those responsible for the intimidation have not advanced.  

Afro-Colombian Community Council Member Murdered (Cauca) 

On October 27, Adelmo Balanta from the Community Council of the Cauca River and Microestuary of Teta and Mezamorrero (Consejo Comunitario del Rio Cauca y Micro Cuenca Teta y Mezamorrero), was murdered. This is violent act number 24 that this community experienced in 2022, as their land restitution process advances. INDEPAZ reports that Balanta was assassinated by armed men while driving his motorcycle. INDEPAZ notes that the Jaime Martínez Mobile Column of the Western Coordinating Command (Columna Móvil Jaime Martínez del Comando Coordinador de Occidente, CMJCCO) and other local armed groups are present in this department. 

Journalist Assassinated (Córdoba) 

On October 26, journalist Rafael Emiro Moreno was assassinated after being shot by two men. He was the director of digital media outlet Voces Córdoba that was known widely for this work as a community and social leader. Since 2019, Moreno has received death threats due to his reports about illegal armed groups. The National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Protección, UNP) provided him with measures.  According to the Foundation for the Freedom of Press (Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa, FLP), his murder is not the first to occur under national protection, and notes that when increasing threats against him began in July 2022, the protection scheme decided to maintain the measures they already had in place.  

Emergency Ceasefire Plan Proposed by Afro-Colombian Leaders (Valle de Cauca) 

The Black Community Council of the River Naya (Consejo Comunitario de la Comunidad Negra del Río Naya, CCCNRN) has learned that illegal armed groups operating in the area signed an agreement on October 26. The two signers- Livardo Garcia of the Second Marquetalia of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC)  and Omar Silgado from the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN)- denounced the recent armed incident in the region taken out by a discharged, underaged combatant recruited by the Jaime Martinez Front (Frente Jaime Martinez) 

CCCNRN calls on leaders within the Naya River area to continue carrying out their social functions. They should not collaborate with any of the illegal armed groups. Nor should they stop their activities. The Jaime Martinez Mobile Column (Columna Móvil Jaime Martínez) has issued death threats against the members of the communal black territories. CCCNRN is asking Colombia’s Peace Commissioner, Danilo Rueda, to organize a meeting between Naya’s ethnic authorities and these illegal armed groups in order to push them towards a multilateral ceasefire and eventual peace dialogue.  

Social Leader Killed by Armed Men (Antioquia) 

On October 22, INDEPAZ) reported the murder of Ricardo Antonio Valderrama, a member of the Community Action Board of the El Bosque village in the Department of Antioquia.  Valderrama was kidnapped from his home by armed men. His body was discovered days later. It contained signs of torture and gunshot wounds. INDEPAZ notes social leaders who belong to Community Action Boards are at high risk of harm. Serious acts of violence and selective homicides are continuously perpetrated against them.  

Humanitarian Crisis Emergency Plan Proposed (Córdoba) 

On October 19, the Promotional Committee of the Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Committee of Córdoba (Comité de Impulso de la Mesa Humanitaria y de Construcción de Paz de Córdoba) warned of increased violence in Córdoba department. This is generating an economic and humanitarian crisis for inhabitants. As they are facing ongoing persecution, harassment, and the murder of social, political, community, environmental, and human rights defenders. The Committee denounces the October 16 murder of journalist and social leader Rafael Emiro Moreno. The National Government is asked to put in place protection for social leaders, human and rights defenders. They note that the Unified Command Posts for Life have had little impact so far beyond their installation. The Senate Human Rights and Peace Commissions should organize a public hearing in the territory to put a stop to the violence.  

Indigenous Emberá Governor Assassinated (Antioquia) 

On October 18, the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia (Organización Indígena de Antioquia, OIA) denounced the assassination of Álvaro Ballarín Sapia, the governor of the indigenous Emberá Eyábida reservation. Sapia was attacked by an armed man, and did not recover from his wounds. The organization stands in solidarity with the Embera Eyábido authority, Sapia’s wife, and the family of those affected by not only this violent act but as well as the ongoing threats to their communities in Antioquia.  

Illegal Armed Groups Murder Man (Chocó) 

The Intereclesial Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, CIJP) reported that on October 18, armed men installed a National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) flag on a dock in Docordó, Chocó. The armed men proceeded to forcibly take five men out of the area. Four hours later four of the men returned. The fifth man, Corpolino Viveros, was murdered. CIJP claims that the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities in the region fear the ELN and the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) present in their area. The SomosGénesis network is continuously raising concerns about these illegal groups’ activities in the department. They are advocating for a Global Territorial Humanitarian Peace Agreement involving all the illegal armed groups. They see this as way to stop the violence and murders and to work towards non-repetition of abuses.  

Students Attacked During University Protest (Atlántico) 

The Defense of Liberty (Defender la Libertad) reports that on October 14 Atlantic University students held a peaceful sit-in protest. This was to express discontent with the universities’ present infrastructure conditions and other demand. Suddenly, a group of people began physically attacking the students and throwing blunt objects at them. Witnesses note that the National Police neglected to stop the attackers. As a result, at least 11 students, one of which is the current representative on the part of the students before the human rights and peace committee at Atlantic University were injured. The Defense of Liberty organization condemns the lack of action taken by the police and an investigation into this incident.  

Afro-Colombian Social Leader Killed (Putumayo) 

On October 12, INDEPAZ reported the murder of Silvio Landazury Castillo, member of the Afro-Colombian Community Council in Mocoa municipality. Castillo was killed by an armed man while riding on his motorcycle. Illegal armed actors are exerting coercive control over social leaders, communal, traditional, and ethnic authorities in Mocoa. This puts all of their lives at risk.   

Community Leader Killed (Arauca) 

On October 10, INDEPAZ denounced the murder of social leader Gildardo Alonso Ríos in Fortul, Arauca department. Ríos was the vice president of the Community Action Board in La Primavera  village, an area with a high homicide rate. The illegal groups present in this area include the ELN, residual groups from the 28th and 10th Fronts (Frentes 28 y 10), and other local armed structures.  

Landmine Kills Indigenous Awá Leader (Nariño) 

On October 9, UNIPA reported that indigenous social leader, Gerardo Pai Nastacaus, was killed. The death occurred after a minefield near the Ecuadorian border in Nariño department was activated. Nastacus was an interpreter and traditional medicine man. He was a well-known life protector and defender of the Awá territory. UNIPA points out that landmines not only kill Awá people but also obstruct the cultivation of medicinal plants. UNIPA asks the government to implement its Total Peace Policy. Doing this includes putting in place protective actions that recognize the physical and cultural extermination experienced by Awá communities and efforts to stop it.  

Afro-Colombian Leader Killed (Chocó) 

On October 8, social leader Freddy Mena Obregón of the Cocomopoca Community Council (Consejo Comunitario Cocomopoca) in the La Playa, Lloró district, was murdered. Obregón belonged to Cocomopoca. He was the vice-president in charge of organizing religious venerations to Saints during festivities. According to Chocó7días, armed men entered the community and stole money and phones from several members. They then killed Obregón. This murder comes after armed robberies and theft in the urban area of Lloró in September 2021, which led to the internal displacement of inhabitants for several weeks.  

Assassinations of Social Activists Continue (Putumayo) 

CIJP reports that on October 8, members of the Carolina Ramírez Front (Frente Carolina Ramírez, FCR) assassinated two social leaders from the Puerto Leguizamo municipality, Putumayo department- Rigo Alape and Ferney Morales. These leaders formed part of the Association of Peasant Workers of Mecaya (La Asociación de Trabajadores Campesinos de Mecaya, ASTRACAM). These murders occurred just days after two members of the Bolivarian Army Border Commands (Comandos de Frontera Ejercito Bolivariano, CFEB) murdered two of Consuelo Vanegas’ relatives, and a social leader. CIJP notes that it is civilians who are suffering the consequences of the armed disputes taking place between the Carolina Ramírez Front and the Border Command. The communities form part of the SomosGénesis network that is calling for peace and de-escalation of violence.  

Afro-Colombian Social Leaders Assassinated (Cauca) 

On October 6, Quilichao Al Dia reported that two social leaders from the Afro-Colombian Santander de Quilichao Community Council in Cauca were found dead on a sidewalk. The victims, Edison Murillo Aratat and Yeifer Medina Chivatá, were killed by the use of a firearm. This incident has alarmed the community.  

Former Truth Commission Investigator is Threatened (Cundinamarca) 

On October 6, the Monitoring and Follow-up Committee (Comité de Seguimiento y Monitoreo, CSM) for the Final Report on the Truth Commission denounced that one of its former investigators Andrés Celis and his family are receiving threats. Via calls and WhatsApp, perpetrators are threatening his life. They’ve indicated that the know where his family is located. Celis suffered a security breach in February in Bogotá. This was followed by threats. The situation has escalated to the point that Celis was forced to flee the country. The CSM calls on the national and international community to guarantee Celis and his family’s security. They urge that authorities speed up the investigation and identity of those responsible for these threats. 

Threats Against Wiwa Indigenous Authorities (Magdalena) 

On October 5, CIJP reported that Wiwa community authorities received death threats from the Conquerors of the Sierra Nevada Self-Defense Forces (Autodefensas Conquistadoras de la Sierra, ACSN). A physical pamphlet, signed by the ACSN is circulating in Dibulla municipality. The targets are threatened with derogatory names. The pamphlet announces that their mobility is restricted past 8 p.m. The Wiwa were previously targeted for denouncing mining projects in their territories. These threats come a week after Wiwa communities and others urged illegal armed groups in the Caribbean to join the Global Territorial Peace effort. 

Human Rights Violations in Indigenous Territories (Multiple) 

The Observatory of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights and Peace of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia, ONIC) released a October 4 report on violations that took place against indigenous peoples during September. According to the report, a total of 6,134 indigenous peoples were affected. The victims were concentrated in the Western (67%) and Central Western (32%) departments of Colombia. Chocó had the most violations. Antioquia and Nariño follow closely behind. The Emberá and Awá were the ethnic groups most impacted by violence. In September, over 400 indigenous people became internally displaced and another over 5,000 confined.  

Massacre of Four Men (Valle de Cauca) 

On October 4, INDEPAZ denounced the assassination of four men in the Brisas de Mayo neighborhood in Cali, Valle de Cauca department. What is known is that heavily armed men entered the area, and fired shots at seven men. This injured three and killed four. INDEPAZ notes that the illegal armed groups operating in this area are the FARC dissidents, ELN and organized crime groups linked to drug trafficking. At that time, this was the 83rd massacre to take place in 2022.  

Massacre by Armed Men on Motorcycle (Atlántico) 

On October 2, INDEPAZ reported that three young men were assassinated in a massacre in Soledad, Atlántico. They were shot at by armed men on a motorcycle as they gathered outside a house. Only two of the three victims have been identified as of now. INDEPAZ notes that the AGC, the Coastal Rastrojos (Rastrojos Costeños, RC), and the Coastals (Los Costeños) all operate in this area.   

Social and Political Leader Assassinated (Bolívar) 

On October 2, INDEPAZ denounced the assassination of Natanael Díaz Iriarte. Iriarte a social leader had run for office for the Magangué Council (Consejo de Magangué) with the Democratic Expanded Alliance Party (Alianza Democrática Amplia, ADA) in past elections. The report denounces the increased occurrence of homicides, tortures, detentions, and disappearances in this part of the country.  

Female Indigenous Nasa Leader Assassinated (Putumayo) 

On September 30, ICJP reported that armed men of the CF assassinated Clemencia Arteaga. Arteaga was an indigenous leader of the Nasa Santa Rosa of Juanambú reserve. This killing occurred in an area with a strong military and national police presence. The week prior the CF and the FARC engaged in armed combat in rural parts of this region.  

Three Indigenous Awá People Murdered (Nariño) 

On September 29, UNIPA denounced the violence committed by armed actors in several Awá communities. In just two weeks, three indigenous community members- Leonicio Taicus Canticus of the Awá Sangulpí Reserve, Diocelino García Bisbicus of the Awá Saundè Guigay Reserve, and Arturo García of the Awá Pulgande Tronqueria reserve- were assassinated. UNIPA denounces the presence of legal and illegal armed groups in their territories. It urges President Petro to take action against the violence and for the Senate Peace Commission to visit the area. 

Illegal Armed Groups Confrontation Risk (Cauca) 

The Human Rights Ombudsman issued a statement on September 29 on the imminent risk of anarmed confrontation between illegal groups in northern, rural areas of Cauca department. The entity urges government institutions to implement effective and urgent measures to protect the civilian population caught in the crossfire.  

Worker’s Association Social Leader Killed (Santander) 

On September 29, INDEPAZ reported the murder of Enrique Antonio García, a liaison between worker’s associations and oil contracting companies. García was killed by gunmen in the same municipality where a union leader was just killed several months ago. INDEPAZ notes that García’s name was listed on an AGC pamphlet that has circulate in the area the 14th of September. The illegal armed groups utilize violence to impose social control over communities in the area.  

Adolescent Taken Hostage (Arauca) 

On September 28, the Office of the United Nations Human Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia condemned the recent kidnapping of adolescent Zharich Acevedo Garces in Corocito, Tame, Arauca department. The organization demands for the immediate release of Garces and requests that she be returned safe and sound.   

Armed Group Detain Agents (Norte de Santander) 

On September 27, the National Political Council of the Common Parties (Consejo Político Nacional del Partido Comunes, CPNPC) denounced the detention of three agents from the Territorial Spaces of Training and Reincorporation authority (Espacios Territoriales de Capacitación y Reincorporación, ETCR) of Caño Indio in the North Santander. According to the CPNP, the agents were approached by a group of 10-15 armed men who said they were ELN. They then stripped the agents of the weapons assigned to them by UNP, stole their vehicle, detained and threatened to death for seven hours.  

Indigenous Wayuu Infant Starved to Death (Guajira) 

On September 26, the Wayuu Shipia Association (Asociacion Shipia Wayuu, ASW) reported that more than 50 Wayuu children have died so far this year. That day, 13-month-old baby Jasmine Ipuana died due to malnutrition. The ASW called on The Presidential Advisor for the Regions, Luis Fernando Velasco Chaves, and his department to resume talks with the Wayuu Spokespersons to address the situation.

Social Organizations Commend Petro Announcement on Total Peace Plan (Multiple) 

On September 26, the We Are Genesis Network published a letter celebrating progress towards the Total Peace announced by President Petro and the appointment of Danilo Rueda as the High Commissioner for Peace. The network commends the Commissioner’s efforts in pushing for dialogue with the CDF-EB. The letter aspires that this will lead to territorial peace. They appreciate some of the illegal armed groups’ willingness to advance towards peace and encourage other groups to do the same. 

Indigenous Council Member Suffers Assassination Attempt (Valle de Cauca) 

On September 24, the Cabildo Nasa Yumbo Valle Indigenous authority in Valle del Cauca department denounced that armed men targeted Floralba Quiguapungo and his family were targeted. Armed men entered this indigenous leader’s home. The Nasa indigenous authorities insist that action is taken to protect indigenous human rights defenders. 

Barí Indigenous Suffer Human Rights Violations (Norte de Santander) 

A September 26, the Traditional Authorities of the Barí People (Asociación de Autoridades Tradicionales del Pueblo Barí, AATPB) a published an agreement signed earlier meant to address the increased rights violations their communities are facing. The Barí authority state that they are a target because their territories are located along the border with Venezuela.  

They are experiencing land occupations by persons from the Río de Oro sector in Catatumbo. As a result, the guardians, leaders, and Indigenous authorities made the decision to exercise their rights to self-governance and determination by protecting and strengthening control of their territories. They claim that the ELN is intimidating community members. It requests identification documents, takes belongings, restricts mobility, and places restrictions on the indigenous cultural and economic practices. Life sustaining activities like fishing are a target. The authorities also point to FARC dissidents, new illegal actors and the armed forces operating in the region. They are demanding that all armed actors- legal and illegal- leave the territory of the ancestral Barí Nation.  

Indigenous Authorities Denounce Stigmatization (Caquetá) 

On September 21, the Association of the Indigenous Cabildos of San Vicente of Caguán (Comunidades Indígenas Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas de San Vicente del Caguán, ACISC) issued a public condemnation in Semana magazine. The say that politician Humberto Sanchez Cedeño of the Democratic Center Party falsely asserted that indigenous authorities were forced to attend a social dialogue meeting by FARC dissidents. The ACISC informed Danilo Rueda of the serious humanitarian, social, and environmental crisis they are facing. The indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon jungle are at risk of physical, cultural, and spiritual extermination. The ACISC state that Mr. Cedeño’s comments places their lives at risk. 

Ethnic Commission on Peace Process and Total Peace (Cundinamarca) 

On September 23, the Ethnic Commision for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights (Comisión Étnica Para la Paz y La Defensa de los Derechos Territoriales, CEPDDT) stated the promises made in the 2016 peace accord and the Ethnic Chapter implementation are falling short. The reality is that many ethnic territories are experiencing humanitarian emergencies. Human rights violations are disproportionately affecting ethnic groups. They ask that the Petro government recognize the complexities and particularities faced by ethnic groups and tackle the issue. They suggest that the government take advantage of the willingness of some actors to enter into peace dialogues by urging them to put in place immediate humanitarian agreements that can save lives.  

Major Attack on Indigenous Communities (Cauca) 

On September 24, the Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca (Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca, CRIC) reported an attack in the territory of López Adentro, leaving 7 injured and 3 gravely wounded. CRIC details that a large group of people, including Afro-Colombians, carried firearms at shot at the Indigenous liberating community while the police complicity watched, staying idly by. CRIC suggests there was a high degree of intentional lethality that led up to this incident, and that as of now, the perpetrators are not known. The authority notes the ongoing conflict between armed civilians in the region, and previous threats made over the process of recovering land. This attack was a clear violation of human rights of Indigenous authorities who have been at the forefront of defending the exploitation of their land. 

Social Leader Assassinated (Magdalena) 

On September 21, INDEPAZ announced that recognized rural leader Frai Torres was assassinated. Torres served as treasurer for the Joint Communal Action of the New America (Junta Acción Comunal de la Nueva América) in Ciénaga, Magdalena department. The leader was murdered in front of his wife and his son. Illegal groups operating in this area include the AGC, the Sierra Nevada Self-Defense Forces (Autodefensas de la Sierra Nevada, ASN), and the RC.  

On-going Abuses in the Peace Community of San José of Apartadó (Antioquia) 

The San José of Apartadó Peace Community (Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó, CPSJA)reported multiple concerning incidents:  

-On September 16, military troops stationed themselves outside of leader Arley Tuberquia’s house. Witnesses stated that the troops pointed a handgun towards the house. 

-On September 13, members were alerted of two subjects walking around next to the community settlement of San Josecito. The two walked near the settlement for several minutes carrying pistols and shouting obscenities.  

-On September 12, members were alerted by a resident in the region of an existing plan to attack the Peace Community’s settlements.  

-On September 10, CPSJA reported that two unknown and unidentified subjects were spotted inside the San Josecito community hamlet at approximately 11:00 p.m. 

-On September 7, CPSJA confirmed the details of events that occurred in prior weeks. On  

On September 4, CPSJA was informed of another death threat from paramilitaries made against a recognizable member from the region. The report noted that the paramilitary member, alias Franco, claimed that he was not so bad because he did not kill him.  

On September 3, CPSJA was alerted of an assasination plan sought to be carried out against a well-known farmer in the area. CPSJIA notes that death is a real threat that lurks against many of the civilian population, and that this farmer’s life remains in danger.  

-On September 1, CPSJA informed that paramilitaries in Arenas Altas, Antioquia gathered a group of peasant workers and announced that they are prohibited to plant or cultivate common produce crops. The paramilitaries then threatened the group to either pay them five million pesos or risk being killed.  

Four Men Assassinated and Bodies Abandoned (Meta) 

On September 20, El Tiempo reported that four dead bodies were found abandoned in El Caribe, the municipality of Puerto Lleras. The attackers left “signs” on the bodies stating: “for being lazy and wanting easy money.” The Police Commander of Meta and the secretary of government for the department scheduled a security council meeting due to this incident. At this meeting, authorities mentioned that both the AGC and FARC operate in the area.  

Family Massacred in Landázuri (Santander)  

On September 19, El Tiempo reported that a double massacre occurred in Landázuri, Santander. Four people from the same family were tortured, killed, and cremated. One of the victims assassinated was Professor Álvaro Díaz. Prof.  Díaz recently helped some friends, several of whom are Venezuelan, to work in a coal mine on his land. Prof. Díaz’s family was attacked with knives and machetes. Their bodies were later moved outside of the house and lit on fire. 


We greatly appreciate your efforts to strengthen human rights in Colombia. If further information is needed, please contact me at (202) 487-7567 or gsanchez@wola.org 


Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli  

Director for the Andes  

November 18, 2022