La Via Campesina denounces assassinations and persecution of social activists in Colombia

(Harare, 10 November, 2020): As we approach another anniversary of the signing of the Peace Agreement between the FARC and the Colombian State, the figures for killings and persecution of men and women leaders in Colombia are alarming. Even amid the COVID 19 pandemic, these acts of war do not stop.

With great outrage, we denounce that many members of our organisations in La Via Campesina Colombia are on the list of assassinations, and several others have been threatened by paramilitary groups that deploy terror strategies to silence historical demands.

As La Via Campesina (LVC), we denounce direct threats against our comrade Nury Martínez and her family. She is the President of Fensuagro and a member of the International Coordinating Committee of LVC. We also denounce threats against Demetrio Guerrero, member of the organisation FENACOA.

According to the Institute for the Study of Development and Peace, Indepaz, to date, close to 251 social leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated, including ten family members and 52 signatories of the Peace Accord.

As guarantor to the point 1 of the Peace Agreement, related to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, and owing to our moral responsibility to the peasantry, indigenous peoples, women and organised society, La Via Campesina calls for a Permanent Campaign of Solidarity to remain alert in the face of this situation of systematic violence. We also denounce the State of Colombia for undermining this historic Agreement that could transform the lives of millions of Colombians, with justice, memory and democracy.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Colombian government authorities must monitor the protection of the human rights of defenders who are under threat, and ensure justice for those who have been killed in Colombia.

We are social defenders, peasants, women, indigenous peoples and organised, we are not criminals!