Colombia: Security of Human Rights Defenders and Communities

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Being a human rights defender (HRD) in Colombia is a dangerous, often deadly job. Despite positive progress in the peace process between the Colombian Government and the left wing guerrilla group, the FARC-EP, as well as, peace talks officially starting with the second largest guerrilla group, the ELN, attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia have been increasing.

According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bogota, 729 HRDs were killed in Colombia between 1994 and 2015, and there is near total impunity for these crimes. Whilst this equates to an average of 33 killings per year, HRDs have been killed in consistently higher numbers since the start of the peace process in October 2012. For example in 2015, 63 HRDs were killed and 682 attacked.

This briefing contains concrete recommendations for the UK and Irish Governments and the EU. It explores issues such as the increase in attacks in light of the peace process, the criminalisation of HRDs, and the interrelationship between land restitution and violence against HRDs.