WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
5 Aug 2019 | Video

Video: How Can Human Rights Defenders be Protected in Colombia?

(Carter Center)

A video by human rights advocacy organization the Carter Center Forum on Women, Religion, Violence, and Power showcases the work of WOLA Director for the Andes Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli in advocating for Colombian human rights defenders.

It is estimated that as of mid-2019, over 400 human rights defenders and social leaders—many of them Afro-Colombian or indigenous—have been killed in Colombia since the November 2016 signing of Colombia’s peace deal with guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

“While Colombia has undergone some major positive changes with the signing of the 2016 peace accord with the FARC, we see a very disturbing trend, which is that of increased, targeted killings of social leaders, human rights defenders, and all of the people necessary to uphold and consolidate that peace on the ground,” Sánchez-Garzoli states in the video.

WOLA releases monthly alerts tracking killings of and attacks against human rights and social leaders in Colombia. The Colombia government maintains that as of July 2019, only 289 social leaders have been killed since the signing of the peace accords, but as Sánchez-Garzoli has explained, that figure is misleading.

The killing of human rights and social leaders in Colombia—many of whom are advocating for land or labour rights—is a sign that even though the government has declared peace with the FARC, violent armed groups (traditionally working in the interest of landowners or the business sector) continue to kill, harass, and intimidate with impunity.

See more of WOLA’s work on Colombia here.