Two more social leaders murdered in Colombia

The Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz) has denounced the murder of two social leaders in Colombia, bringing to 139 the number of social leaders killed so far this year.

The first deceased is Nancer Barrera Herrera, who was president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (JAC) in the village of Cerro Negro, municipality of Baraya, department of Huila. Unidentified armed individuals shot Barrera on September 12 at the victim’s own farm. The gunmen also killed farmer Carlos Andrés Arias Rodríguez.

The Attorney General’s Office has warned of the presence in the area of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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Two weeks later, on September 26, Jesús Alberto Bautista, president of the Junta de Acción Comunal de la verdad Agüita Alta, municipality of Muzo, in the department of Boyacá, was murdered.

This death makes 137 social leaders murdered in Colombia so far in 2022, and 1,366 since the signing of the Peace Accords in 2016, according to Indepaz estimates.

Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office has warned that social leaders represent one of the social sectors most affected by violence, especially in territories with the presence of illegal armed groups.

Among “the most recurrent affectations they suffer are threats, homicide, intimidation, persecution, gender-based violence, forced displacement, pressures under coercion and stigmatization,” it has reviewed.

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