Statement of Repudiation in response to the murders of social leaders in Colombia.

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2019 began with 6 systematic assassinations of social leaders in the country*, addingto more than 252 assassinations that occured in 2018. The alarming reality of the exercise of the defense of human rights and simultaneous absence of guarantee of these rights produces a threat to those in the territories who try to protect the dignified life of the communities**. This is our concern as an Afro-Colombian organizational process and we lament the recent deaths of two of our leaders in Cauca and Magdalena.

As the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations-CNOA, we insist that this extermination and ethnocide not only affects families and groups in each region, but also undermines the civil rights of all Colombians, against our autonomy, leadership and organizations of the Afro-Colombian movement.

The ethnic people of the nation still suffer the disproportionate impact of these events that threaten the physical, ancestral and cultural survival of our population. The Afro-Colombian people demand respect; respect for life, freedom and dignity. It is a right to live with dignity and tranquility in our territories with the guarantees that we have constitutionally and conventionally achieved thanks to our voices and struggles of resistance, and it is the responsibility of the State to protect them.

These deaths cannot simply be a case or a number. They cannot remain forgotten in the impunity of the judicial system. To this day, advancements in investigations that drive to establish the systematic nature of these assassinations and constant threats***, as well as the arrests or prosecutions of the alleged perpetrators, are unknown.

It is important to highlight that after the signing of the agreement of the end of the conflict in Havana, the hope of achieving that stable and lasting peace vanishes for those of us who have bet every day on the construction of peace from the territories, and we continue to be immersed in a humanitarian crisis that prevents the effective enjoyment of individual and collective rights, to which the Colombian government can not be alien.

CNOA reiterates a call to the national government and authorities to address this situation with the urgency it deserves, and to take the necessary actions for the protection and security of those who defend our rights.

The defense of life is an issue of all!


*https://www.datawrapper.de/_/UixnW/
**http://www.indepaz.org.co/566-lideres-sociales-y-defensores-de-derechos-humanos-han-sido-asesinados-desde-el-1-de-enero-de-2016-al-10-de-enero-de-2019/
***See here for the pronouncement of the general attorney:
https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/fiscalia-reconoce-sistematicidad-en-crimenes-contra-lideres-sociales-articulo-833539