In response to the Guardian’s article on 23rd March (see link below) Dr Andy Higginbottom, Secretary Colombia Solidarity Campaign wrote this letter:
Dear Guardian Letters
The sad thing about the constant assassination of social leaders and human rights defenders is that it has been normalised and no longer seen as newsworthy, so your report “Colombian death squads exploiting coronavirus lockdown to kill activists” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/colombian-groups-exploiting-coronavirus-lockdown-to-kill-activists is welcome for returning the spotlight on this ongoing nightmare. Three such killings occur every week, and have been since the signing of the peace agreement between the FARC guerrillas and the government on 26 November 2016.
The principal responsibility lies with right-wing paramilitaries targeting presumed leftists; according to allegations cited in the UN’s 2018 report, five times more so. https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/40/3/Add.3 Moreover, the latest UN mission records that 173 demobilised FARC combatants have been assassinated, alongside the ‘303 killings of human rights defenders and social leaders’, up to the end of 2019. https://colombia.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/n1942147.pdf
There is a further Covid-19 twist to the appalling human rights situation in Colombia. In the early hours of Sunday morning, at La Modelo prison in Bogotá, state forces killed at least 23 prisoners and injured another 80 or so. The inmates were protesting “against overcrowding and poor health services during the coronavirus outbreak”. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-51999594
This is not peace, it is a very dirty war.
Dr. Andy Higginbottom
Secretary Colombia Solidarity Campaign