Human rights defenders targeted in north-east Colombia

The ombudsman of a north-eastern Colombian town said Wednesday more than 55 human rights defenders and their relatives there had been forcibly displaced by guerrillas in one week.

Jhon Fredy Acevedo says illegal groups, mainly members of the FARC’s 34th Front, have been threatening the community of Carmen de Atrato since last Tuesday.

Acevedo said, “We know that they are FARC, as they identified themselves when they arrived in the community threatening its leaders, who were forced to leave their homes and flee to other places.”

The ombudsman said there had been seven threats in the last few days, which had generated the same number of displaced families, bringing the number of people who had been forced to leave the town to 40.

“We have also received three statements from another 12 [relatives] who have been displaced and knowledge of another two families that could have been moved,” said Acevedo.

He said there was no military presence in the area, as the town was located between the limits of two battalion zones. “There are seven kilometers where there is just a highway in a jungle zone,” he said, “So the armed groups take advantage of this to keep a continuous presence.”

Related posts

Central Colombia mining disaster kills 21, rescue attempts ended

At least 11 dead, 10 missing after central Colombia mine blasts

Venezuela extradites convicted former lawmaker to Colombia