Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says his government will step up cooperation with civilian organizations to counter the ongoing murdering and threatening of leaders of displaced farmers claiming lands that were stolen by illegal armed groups.
“They are reporting that there have been threats against some of the spokesmen of farmers who are claiming lands. Also there are reports of the assassination of some of these leaders,” Santos said in a speech.
According to Santos, the violence against the displaced leaders comes from both leftist and right-wing illegal armed groups who are trying to prevent farmers to return to their lands.
The President said the increase in cooperation with civilian organizations should lead to increased protection of the displaced leaders who are claiming their lands after the government implemented a Victims Law, allowing victims to claim lands that were stolen after their removal from their property.
“We are not going to allow that the enemies of this law continue what they are doing. We are going to reaffirm our political will and our crystal clear decision to move forward,” said Santos.
Between August 2010 — when Santos took office — and November 2011, at least 20 displaced leaders have been murdered.