By Adriana Lucía Puentes

El Colombiano, September 18, 2019

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

Antioquia is the province with the second highest number of social leaders murdered so far in 2019, according to the report titled “Violations of Human Rights in Times of Peace”, issued by the Institute for the Study of Development and Peace (Indepaz in Spanish).

Until the first week of September (up to Sunday, September 8) 155 social leaders have been murdered, twenty of them on Antioquia’s soil. Cauca is the province with the most cases, with a total of 35 and Nariño is third with 17 murders.

The report points out that since 2016 there have been murders of  social leaders and human rights defenders in 20 of the 32 provinces in the country; that means that in  90.62% of the national territory, there have been attacks on their lives. In 2019 there are cases reported in 89 municipalities in 23 provinces.

Tarazá is, for the moment, the municipality in Antioquia in which the most social leaders have been murdered, with three cases. Cauca, Ituango, Remedios and Santa Fe de Antioquia follow, with two cases in each province.

If we consider the kind of conflicts, Indepaz reports that the majority of the cases are related to the planting of coca and agreements for substitution or forced eradication, with 72 cases: two in 2016, 20 in 2017, 44 during 2018, and six so far in 2019.

May has been the most violent month so far this year, with a total of 25 cases.

The statistics continue not adding up

Indepaz insists that 777 people have been murdered since 2016: 132 cases in 2016, 208 in 2017, 282 in 2018 and 155 up to September 8 in 2019. But for the Public Defender’s Office, the number of victims is 482 between 2016 when the Peace Agreement was signed and June of 2019, and for the Attorney General’s Office there were 302 murders, based on United Nations reports.

In Antioquia Province, the NGO Nodo Antioquia (Crux of Antioquia) counts 12 social leaders murdered this year, with Bajo Cauca the subregion with the most cases.

Who is killing them?

In 89.03% of the cases the killer is unknown and the actual and planning responsibilities have not been determined (according to Indepaz).

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