The Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES, Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento) is alarmed by the large number of assassinations and massive displacements of indigenous and afro-descendant communities that occurred in the first days of this year.
In the first 28 days of January, 9 leaders were assassinated. Of these people, 3 were afro-descendants and 4 were indigenous. The assassinations took place in the departments of Córdoba, Antioquia, Meta, Nariño, Buenaventura and Cauca. During the same period, more than 140 people belonging to social and community organizations were threatened.
In the first 28 days of 2018, 2,560 people were displaced. Of these, 1,616 belong to ethnic communities. These displacements took place in Chocó, Putumayo, Córdoba, Nariño, Antioquia (bajo Cauca), Boyacá and Buenaventura. Through its monitoring system, CODHES reports that the majority of these displacements are related to previous threats, aggressions, and homicides against community representatives. This is a crisis concerning the physical and cultural extermination of Colombia’s ethnic and rural leadership.
Because of the gravity of this humanitarian crisis and the persistent assassination of social leaders, CODHES stresses the severity of this ethnocide in Colombia. This situation requires an effective response from the state as well as solidarity from the international community.
CODHES worriedly observes an increase in armed attacks against civil populations and a disturbingly limited amount of protection for them. In this sense, we demand that the Colombian state respond to the systematic murder of community, social, ethnic, and political leaders.
We urge the state to provide immediate protection for threatened leaders and to thoroughly investigate these crimes. We hope that the state will be able to establish those responsible for the murders and displacements of these communities.
We implore the international community to bring attention to these murders. The continuation of forced displacement risks the advancement of an electoral process operating under a framework of social leadership massacres.
We stand with the families and communities of these murdered leaders. We send a message of support to those threatened, and we reiterate our defense for the human rights of victims, displaced populations, and leaders.
The Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES, Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento).
Bogotá, 29 de enero de 2018