SIGN the Letter

In defence of rights, territory and life: Raise your voice for social justice in Colombia.

February 17, 2021

Demand recognition, guarantees, and protection for human rights defenders in Colombia. 

In Colombia, sixty years of armed conflict and violence have meant that working for the defence of human rights, land restitution, environmental protection, the implementation of the Peace Agreement, belonging to a trade union or opposition political party, and opposing mega-mining and agro-industrial projects are all activities that put the lives of these defenders at high risk. Historically, they have experienced constant stigmatization, political and judicial persecution exercised by the State and its institutions, in addition to threats, forced displacements, movement restrictions, and assassinations carried out by legal and illegal armed actors.

For those who live in rural territories and non-capital cities, the armed conflict has not ceased. Paramilitary, guerrilla, and military operations continue to tear apart the Colombian social fabric, ending the next generation’s yearnings for peace and creating new cycles of violence and death. In 2020, more than 300 Human Rights Defenders were assassinated and more than 20 have already been assassinated within the first weeks of 2021. This is a clear example of the reactivation of violence, proving that a peace agreement is not enough, if a government does not really commit to the defense of life and social justice. 

With this in mind, we want to invite you to join our campaign of international solidarity to send a clear, strong and direct message to the Colombian National Government demanding recognition, guarantees and protection for human rights defenders. 

Sign here to raise your voice for social justice.

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the complex safety and security situation that social leaders, demobilized FARC-EP signatories to the Peace Agreement and the civil population in Colombia are facing. The year 2021 has started with masacres, assassinations of social leaders and the reactivation of the armed conflict in the regions thought to be stabilized and in a process of peacebuilding after the Colombia government and FARC-EP signed the 2016 Peace Agreement.

Colombia is currently experiencing a very complex socio-political context characterized by increased violence in several provinces/states. Armed actors operating in the territories are fighting for control and profits of mining, drug trafficking and extortion; making small farmers, artisanal miners, Indigenous peoples, Afrocolombians and other members of the civil population vulnerable and at high risk of human rights violations. Likewise, the delay in the implementation of public policies with a differential perspective—land and territory or gender—keeps the population most affected by conflict in a cycle of poverty, facing lack of opportunities and leaving them vulnerable to the interests of illegal actors. At the national level, the Colombian government is far from able to put an end to the current escalation in violence.

The Middle Magdalena and Northeast Antioquia regions have been impacted by this national reality. Violence has increased and continues to make the social movement, social leaders and human rights defenders vulnerable; as well as small farming and artisanal mining communities who are caught in the middle of violent dynamics and fighting among armed actors. In spite of this violence, these communities and leaders continue peacefully resisting in their territories.

Considering the aforementioned, I urge:

  1. The Colombian National Government and the Office of the High Commissioner of Peace to comply with the Peace Agreement, and to show willingness and take the necessary measures to restart peace dialogues with the National Liberation Army (ELN) prioritizing a negotiated end to the conflict and halting the continued suffering.
  2. The provincial/state and local administrations to comply with the commitments of the peace process, by creating plans and projects for the communities to build and consolidate peace in their territories, and by implementing public policies with a differential focus on the territories and gender to bring prosperity, social justice to effectively guarantee the communities’ human rights in their territories.
  3. The Ministry of Defense to follow up on the actions of the armed forces to guarantee the rights of the population and respect of International Humanitarian Law.
  4. The Office of the Attorney General, the institution responsible to address and follow up with the assassinations of social leaders and human rights defenders, to investigate and prosecute the responsible persons of such killings. These killings are—almost entirely—unresolved, and remain in impunity, without truth and without guarantees of no repetition.
  5. The Prosecutor General of Colombia (Internal investigative governmental office) to better monitor the conduct of members of armed forces and public servants whose actions—or failure to act—can negatively impact the safety of the defenders and the guarantees to carry out their work for the defense of human rights. Moreover, to monitor irregular judicial procedures that do not respect due process and to guarantee the respect of law and people’s dignity.
  6. The National Human Rights Ombuds Office to continue accompanying social processes, releasing Early Warning Systems alerts and taking the necessary actions to prevent situations where human rights are violated.
  7. The Presidential Counsellor for Stabilisation and Consolidation of Colombia to make sure there is a holistic state presence, focusing on improving the quality of life in the territories through healthcare, education, infrastructure, rural development, and economic projects to effectively protect and ensure the enjoyment of the population’s rights.
  8. The Minister of Interior to provide the necessary protection measures so that the work of defending human rights and political opposition does not cost people their lives.

Finally, I conclude this letter by urging that you, as public institutions, join forces and assume  responsibilities, given that your actions are fundamental to achieve changes that would improve the lives of communities affected by violence, as well as the exercise of defending human rights in Colombia.

Thanks for taking action for peace! The campaign is closed.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Sign the letter. Add your name.

Demand recognition, guarantees, and protection for human rights defenders in Colombia. 

In Colombia, sixty years of armed conflict and violence have meant that working for the defence of human rights, land restitution, environmental protection, the implementation of the Peace Agreement, belonging to a trade union or opposition political party, and opposing mega-mining and agro-industrial projects are all activities that put the lives of these defenders at high risk. Historically, they have experienced constant stigmatization, political and judicial persecution exercised by the State and its institutions, in addition to threats, forced displacements, movement restrictions, and assassinations carried out by legal and illegal armed actors.

For those who live in rural territories and non-capital cities, the armed conflict has not ceased. Paramilitary, guerrilla, and military operations continue to tear apart the Colombian social fabric, ending the next generation’s yearnings for peace and creating new cycles of violence and death. In 2020, more than 300 Human Rights Defenders were assassinated and more than 20 have already been assassinated within the first weeks of 2021. This is a clear example of the reactivation of violence, proving that a peace agreement is not enough, if a government does not really commit to the defense of life and social justice. 

With this in mind, we want to invite you to join our campaign of international solidarity to send a clear, strong and direct message to the Colombian National Government demanding recognition, guarantees and protection for human rights defenders. 

Sign here to raise your voice for social justice.

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the complex safety and security situation that social leaders, demobilized FARC-EP signatories to the Peace Agreement and the civil population in Colombia are facing. The year 2021 has started with masacres, assassinations of social leaders and the reactivation of the armed conflict in the regions thought to be stabilized and in a process of peacebuilding after the Colombia government and FARC-EP signed the 2016 Peace Agreement.

Colombia is currently experiencing a very complex socio-political context characterized by increased violence in several provinces/states. Armed actors operating in the territories are fighting for control and profits of mining, drug trafficking and extortion; making small farmers, artisanal miners, Indigenous peoples, Afrocolombians and other members of the civil population vulnerable and at high risk of human rights violations. Likewise, the delay in the implementation of public policies with a differential perspective—land and territory or gender—keeps the population most affected by conflict in a cycle of poverty, facing lack of opportunities and leaving them vulnerable to the interests of illegal actors. At the national level, the Colombian government is far from able to put an end to the current escalation in violence.

The Middle Magdalena and Northeast Antioquia regions have been impacted by this national reality. Violence has increased and continues to make the social movement, social leaders and human rights defenders vulnerable; as well as small farming and artisanal mining communities who are caught in the middle of violent dynamics and fighting among armed actors. In spite of this violence, these communities and leaders continue peacefully resisting in their territories.

Considering the aforementioned, I urge:

  1. The Colombian National Government and the Office of the High Commissioner of Peace to comply with the Peace Agreement, and to show willingness and take the necessary measures to restart peace dialogues with the National Liberation Army (ELN) prioritizing a negotiated end to the conflict and halting the continued suffering.
  2. The provincial/state and local administrations to comply with the commitments of the peace process, by creating plans and projects for the communities to build and consolidate peace in their territories, and by implementing public policies with a differential focus on the territories and gender to bring prosperity, social justice to effectively guarantee the communities’ human rights in their territories.
  3. The Ministry of Defense to follow up on the actions of the armed forces to guarantee the rights of the population and respect of International Humanitarian Law.
  4. The Office of the Attorney General, the institution responsible to address and follow up with the assassinations of social leaders and human rights defenders, to investigate and prosecute the responsible persons of such killings. These killings are—almost entirely—unresolved, and remain in impunity, without truth and without guarantees of no repetition.
  5. The Prosecutor General of Colombia (Internal investigative governmental office) to better monitor the conduct of members of armed forces and public servants whose actions—or failure to act—can negatively impact the safety of the defenders and the guarantees to carry out their work for the defense of human rights. Moreover, to monitor irregular judicial procedures that do not respect due process and to guarantee the respect of law and people’s dignity.
  6. The National Human Rights Ombuds Office to continue accompanying social processes, releasing Early Warning Systems alerts and taking the necessary actions to prevent situations where human rights are violated.
  7. The Presidential Counsellor for Stabilisation and Consolidation of Colombia to make sure there is a holistic state presence, focusing on improving the quality of life in the territories through healthcare, education, infrastructure, rural development, and economic projects to effectively protect and ensure the enjoyment of the population’s rights.
  8. The Minister of Interior to provide the necessary protection measures so that the work of defending human rights and political opposition does not cost people their lives.

Finally, I conclude this letter by urging that you, as public institutions, join forces and assume  responsibilities, given that your actions are fundamental to achieve changes that would improve the lives of communities affected by violence, as well as the exercise of defending human rights in Colombia.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

CPT Action is an initiative of Christian Peacemaker Teams inviting activists, advocates and allies to take action for peace.

Connect with us for up-to-date news on actions and ways you can participate.

Your contribution sustains our work

Every donation makes a difference

worldwide contributions
Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression
Learn what we stand for

Individual donations make up 60% of our budget

canadian donations
Skip to content