ABColombia along with other International Civil Society Organisations, sent a letter, on 21 December 2017, to the Colombian Minister of Defence, Dr. Luis Carlos Villegas.
The letter identifies the systematic attack and killing of human rights defenders. There are also patterns of attacks specifically against community leaders who have publicly supported the peace process with the FARC and the implementation of the Peace Accord, illicit crop substitution, land restitution processes, environmental rights and the peace process with the ELN.
The letter calls on the Defence Minister not to dismiss, without any evidence as he has done, this context. By doing this it becomes a new factor of vulnerability and risk to the life and work of HRDs, and also goes against the orders of the Council of State. Active measures are needed to promote the work of HRDs on territorial rights and peace issues.
ABColombia and others highlighted the responsibility of the State to investigate and punish the material and intellectual authors of crimes against HRDs and communities. The State must immediately implement measures to prevent massive displacement of communities in Chocó, reduce stigmatisation of community leaders and re-establish community trust in the State as the protector of rights.