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Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Colombia on 6 March, more than 20 social leaders have been murdered.
With the Colombian government’s focus on the pandemic, The Guardian reports how "death squads in Colombia are taking advantage of coronavirus lockdowns to murder rural activists."
On top of this, the nationwide lockdown has made many at-risk activists easy targets. Communities and their leaders have been exposed to an intensification of violence in their territories due to the presence of a variety of armed groups, including former guerrilla dissident factions, paramilitary forces, drug squads, and the military.
Already this year, 84 union and community leaders, together with 24 ex-guerrilla fighters in the process of rejoining civilian life under the peace process, have been killed. On top of killings, there are constant threats and attacks against trade union, peasant and community leaders in all regions of the country.
All while those in power do nothing.
Friends of the Earth stands in solidarity with and demands justice for all those activists from various Colombian peoples’ organisations who are at risk under coronavirus lockdowns. Let's stand with our brothers and sisters in Colombia to send a message to the Colombian government: Stop the killings.
We want justice for all the leaders of rural and indigenous organisations and black communities defending human rights in the country.