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"One and many lights for all women leaders and defenders of #HumanRights in #Nariño, #Colombia, around the world" tweeted the Ombudsman's Office. Ombudsman's Office Twitter.
"One and many lights for all women leaders and defenders of #HumanRights in #Nariño, #Colombia, around the world," tweeted Colombia's Ombudsman's Office. Photo: Twitter- Colombia Ombudsman's Office.

122 social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia this year

This was revealed by Colombian Ombudsman Carlos Camargo during the hearing and presentation of the report on Violence against Social Leaders.

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The figure of 122 social leaders and human rights defenders killed in Colombia between January 1 and July 31 of this year was recently presented by the country's Ombudsman Carlos Camargo.

The Colombian departments with the highest number of murders are Cauca, with 19 homicides, Nariño, with 17, Antioquia, with 12 and Putumayo, with 11.

Also added to this figure are Arauca, with nine homicides, Valle del Cauca, with nine, Bolívar, with seven, Tolima, with six, Caquetá, with five, Norte de Santander, with four, Cesar, with three, Chocó, with three, Meta, with three, Sucre, with two, San Andrés, with two. La Guajira, Córdoba, Santander, Boyacá, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Casanare, Guaviare, Bogotá and Risaralda all have seen one murder.

Nariño has seen a major increase in homicides over the last five years, from six cases in 2016, up to 14 in 2020 and there have already been 17 this year.

For its part, Tumaco has presented a higher number of violent deaths against leaders with seven homicides, followed by Barbacoas with four, Manalla, Olaya Herrera, Samaniego, Leyva, Córdoba, Guachucal, with one case each.

"Homicides against social leaders and human rights defenders represent a serious affectation against communities and democracy. They are the representatives of the petitions, needs and the voice of the most vulnerable people. For this reason we must, from the State, provide them with the necessary guarantees for the exercise of their work, as it is vital to ensure the welfare and human rights in the regions," said the Ombudsman.

According to the report presented by the Ombudsman's Office, community leaders represent the highest number of violent deaths in the whole country with 33 cases, indigenous people 27 cases, and community leaders 25 cases. The male sex accounted for 93% of the homicides while the female sex accounted for 7%.

"We reject criminal actions against social leaders and human rights defenders. We must keep our guard up so that the State guarantees their protection, their safety and that of their families so that they can carry out their work in defense of the communities with peace of mind", Carlos Camargo pointed out.

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